Blog | 12th May, 2010

Healthy Humans

Last blog I concluded with the question “How about a water plan for Victoria that invests seriously in securing drinking water, supporting irrigation communities and giving our rivers a decent drink?” and added that “hopefully it wouldn’t need a batch of trigger nozzles to make it look good.”

Since Premier Brumby relaxed Melbourne’s water restrictions more than a month ago, the state government’s been at pains to remind us all that even on Stage 3 restrictions, “we still all need to keep saving water”.

They even handed out trigger hose nozzles as an afterthought in an effort to reassure us that all our good work saving water to date wouldn’t go to waste and that yes, Melburnians still can’t afford to be reckless with water… despite restrictions being eased!?

The whole relaxing restrictions episode showed that the disconnect between river health – rivers with enough water in them – and our quality drinking water, continues.

After Easter I took at trip to look at some rivers in the east of the state. I swam in the chilly Brodribb River underneath dripping fern fronds. My daughter threw sticks for our four legged friend at the Tambo. We braved the chill in the Buckland and marvelled at the tumbling pebbles. We skipped stones along the Ovens as we followed it all the way just north of Harrietville, down into red gum country and onwards to its confluence with the Murray.

Our rivers are mighty, even despite their small stature at various points along their length.

They’re mighty because they’re what we rely on for drinking water. And irrigation. And places to play. And habitat for wildlife.

Perhaps if our state government spent some time by our mighty rivers, the disconnect between river health and our human health wouldn’t be so pervasive in water policy and management.

And perhaps restrictions wouldn’t be relaxed at the continued expense of our rivers’ health, and eventually ours, as the quality of our drinking water diminishes due to leaving our rivers thirsty.