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EDITORIAL: Water security is more than dams

We remain unsure about the message some of our political big-hitters are trying get across when it comes to the equation of water storage, supply and drought in regional Australia.

If they are telling us that all we need to have a secure water supply in dry, hot and flat inland regions is to simply dig out more dams to catch sporadic run-off they’re kidding themselves.

If they are saying we need to expand and develop water-capturing opportunities in natural or even artificial wet areas – so we can pipe water to efficient, evaporation-
resistant reservoirs – then fair enough.

Of course if others say we should accept the boom-and-bust vagaries of a changing Australian climate and their impact on regional communities, important agricultural industries and thirsty natural environments and do nothing, they shouldn’t be in office.

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Critically, we need to understand exactly what our leaders are saying to have confidence they know what they’re talking about.

We wonder what campaigners who had to fight tooth and nail for the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline must be making of the high-level ‘let’s build more dams’ message in response to the lack of water in traditionally productive agricultural country in northern areas of the Murray-Darling Basin.

They would know too well that dams, depending on everything from location, geology and individual circumstance to engineering and infrastructure requirements determining levels of efficiency and productivity, can be either friend or foe.

Waste, whether it be in the form of water or money, particularly water, has always been an important consideration in approaching ways of securing regional supply.

We can only assume that our federal parliamentarians are already considering the success and evolution of the WimmeraMallee Pipeline as an example of how they can use infrastructure development spending to get the equation right.

We need dams. But they need to be cleverly engineered, deep, damp and subject to reliably consistent inflows of water, be they from rain-catchment areas, artesian or marine supplies that we can readily pipe across the country. 

Otherwise, they are simply boom-and-bust depressions in the landscape, that are more often empty than full and of which we already have plenty.

The entire October 30, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire October 30, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!