Opinion

Build a pipeline to move water where it’s needed

By Country News

Build a pipeline to move water where it’s needed

While I am not a farmer I do have connections in the farming community.

Chris Brooks (Country News, October 30) expresses the heartbreak of farmers seeing rivers with substantial flows going past farms and these farmers cannot obtain any water from the rivers.

There is only so much water in the Murray-Darling Basin on a continuing basis and the needs of the environment, our farmers, rural towns and even big cities such as Adelaide are much more than what is available.

We need more water. How can this be obtained?

Well it can be obtained by piping the excess water often available from flooding rains on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range to the western side — which is into the Murray-Darling Basin.

This idea was proposed many years ago and called the Bradfield Scheme. Look it up on the internet.

A modified version of this using the flood run-off from northern NSW rivers could also be incorporated into the scheme.

Yes, it would be an expensive undertaking — but if we are to remain a country that exports food to the ever-rising population of the world then this is a necessary project.

Let’s not say we can’t do this, because we have achieved great things in the past such as the Snowy system.

Now is a good time to pester our parliamentary members and hopeful members in both state and federal parliament with this proposal or a modified form of it.

Without water our rural communities are gradually dying and we will have hardly enough food for our own needs, let alone to export.

It is up to us, collectively and individually, to pressure our leaders to get on board this proposal or a variant of it.

—Rodney Champness

Mooroopna

Drought summit missed golden opportunity

At the National Drought Summit the Prime Minister made an announcement, including a $15.3million mental health package — most of this money could have stayed in the government’s pocket had government made good decisions in the first place.

For irrigation communities, poor government policy is a major cause of mental health issues.

The lack of vision for long-term water security shows that the government is totally out of touch with the needs of rural Australia.

Currently the government is spending $13billion to remove water from the very regions which were established to drought-proof the country.

Now they are spending $5billion to make rural communities and farmers more resilient.

Right now the Murray Valley in NSW is in a man-made drought, with water in storages yet farmers on zero allocation — a major source of stress emotionally, financially and mentally.

The mental health issues of farmers across the southern basin would have been considerably improved if the government had announced they were spending some of the $5billion on projects in South Australia to improve the management of the Coorong and Lower Lakes.

Instead of watching the Murray River run a banker at many places, the Murray farmers could be producing food for the rest of the country, rather than stuck on zero per cent and becoming part of the problem.

Unfortunately, the National Drought Summit has missed a golden opportunity.

Rural messages are not getting through to our politicians and it is time to get voices into Canberra who will represent the grassroots and will be listened to.

—Darcy Hare

Barham, NSW

Messages not getting through to MPs

The $5million Drought Future Fund announced on October 26 by our Prime Minister again highlights how far away our decision makers are from rural reality.

There seems to be very little mention of small businesses who rely on farmers for their survival.

Small businesses in rural towns are the first to feel the pain in a drought.

Rural communities in the Murray Valley are currently in a man-made drought as water flows right past and to South Australia.

The Federal Government is spending $13billion on dismantling the country’s drought-proofing which was already established by our forefathers; the $5billion bandaid is not a long-term solution.

Fix the mismanagement of fresh water by South Australia and you would free up thousands of gigalitres of water for production and then you have drought resilience.

I can only say that it is becoming increasingly obvious that Canberra is not taking any notice of our elected representative — either that or they are being given the wrong messages.

—Kevin Sutton

Stanhope