Our Murray-Darling Forum was well received. Hosted by Rob Gell, weatherman and environmentalist, over 200 people heard peach farmer John Pettigrew talk about how a mix of solutions – including water trade and buy-back and irrigation modernisation – will be critical to securing the future health of the Murray-Darling.
Independent member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott told the audience he believed the next few years should be the decade for the Murray-Darling, and that the Murray-Darling Basin Plan can deliver for the environment.
Our very own CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy reminded us all that the science shows that our rivers need up to 7,600GL to restore them to health. So what the Murray-Darling Basin Authority must do is look at the benefits and advantages of returning up to 7,600 billion litres of water to the environment. She explained that we need to fully understand the risks and costs of not returning up to7,600 billion litres of water to the environment.
Questions from the audience revolved around the notion of rights to water, the role of leadership, how to build political will to support a strong Plan that delivers for the environment and the persistent question of whether the floods mean there’s now nothing to worry about (the answer to which is now is the time to plan how to share water more fairly into the future).
In 2011 critical decisions will be made about the future of our greatest river system. Will Australians take the long-term view and make the hard political decisions needed to safeguard the future of the Basin and river-dependent communities?