By Kathy Smits, Deniliquin
As I was lying awake in bed this morning, the beautiful sound of rain continued to pitter-patter on the roof. It had been doing so for hours; God bless the rain.
I lay there reflecting on the constant feedback we receive from scientists and politicians about climate change and the need for humankind to save and effectively use our water because, they tell us, it is going to become increasingly scarce.
As a farmer who proudly grows food for Australians and others around the world, I have learned the value of water and the need to ensure we use it efficiently.
So it was with sad reflection I kept listening to the rain and pondered the scandalous waste of this precious resource which today has become the norm.
We store water in the Hume and Dartmouth dams, then send it all the way down the Murray Drain (which used to be an iconic river), with massive losses from evaporation and seepage along the way.
It reaches the huge lakes near the sea in South Australia, where we lose the equivalent of 1.6 Sydney Harbours worth of water every year. And what’s left pours out into the ocean.
Some of our biggest businessmen, including Hungry Jack's founder Jack Cowin, in past weeks have spoken about the folly of pouring water into the sea.
The Australian Agricultural Company chief executive Hugh Killen this week spoke about the potential of harvesting water that goes out to sea.
But our politicians don’t listen.
They continue allowing waste and mismanagement because fixing the problem might cost them votes; we can’t have that, can we.
Maybe I’ll fall asleep while I’m listening to the rain, and when I wake up the water mismanagement nightmare that myself and so many others have been living for over a decade will be nothing but a bad dream.
But I think that is unlikely because, at this point, we do not have politicians with the courage to fix it, nor a Murray-Darling Basin Authority with the courage to call out the failings and advocate for change.
For the sake of our nation’s future I can only pray that one day they will wake up to their folly.