The new Niagara - Power and Beauty on Blurb

Monday, March 3, 2008

Murray River Blues

As you will know from my first blog, I have been visiting Hindmarsh Island near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia for over 40 years. It used to be a popular water-recreation place. During that time the river has gradually deteriorated until recently a crisis has developed which government and administrators seem impotent in repairing.

Drought, water mismanagement and continued government inaction has brought us to the stage in early 2008 when mud flats surround the island.

Some talk, some promises but the water level continues to fall, the salinity rises and the trees die. Farmers and town inhabitants struggle to get sufficient supply.

There has been a change of federal government and the upper reaches of the Murray-Darling system has been flooded by rain during February but still there is no water in the lower reaches. Towns have been inundated. The many storage areas and backwaters of the feeding tributaries have filled and irrigators have siphoned off what they can. Water does not flow through into the Murray.

The water is not shared. What falls here is ours, is the prevailing attitude. It is the kind of selfish self-serving attitude that takes countries to war. We are one country but the administration of this giant river system is fragmented and the well being of the whole system is not the first priority. People in South Australia are angry and when we hear of Irrigators talking of re-planting water hungry cotton crops and towns folk pleased they can use their garden hoses again, we are aghast at the selfish ignorant attitudes displayed. We are all frustrated that administrators do not take control and ensure that the whole river benefits from the availability of new water.

Write to your Parliamentary representatives and tell them what you think! Will we see an improvement in this scene when next I post? One can only hope or, if you're inclined, pray.

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