Friday, 22 October 2010

Background briefing on water: Murray Darling Basin Authority Community Engagement event in Melbourne on Wednesday

Networkers, I have just sent an email out to a huge mail-list from my various networks.  So I thought I should also post it here.

Dear Friends,

No doubt you have heard much of the heat, if not the light, coming from the Murray-Darling Basin debate since the community engagements across the Basin (four states) have begun.

I attended the Shepparton Community Engagement event - where feelings were strong, but people polite.  My view is that the NSW Irrigator's Council has been stirring up their constituency - because most of the heat and fire has come from NSW and I have been following the media statements and Twitter comments of the NSW Irrigators.  

The fact is there are strong forces out to rewrite the current Water Act which gives environmental flows preference (and doesn't the environment need it after drought, blue-green algae, salinity, and many other ills and ailments affecting our life-giving waterways!) yet taking note of consumptive water needs for agriculture, business, and townspeople. However, water in Australia has always been about money and politics.  It is just this time we are trying to give our wetlands, our wildlife, and our waterways a bit of a break.

Background Briefing is covering the water issue this coming week and one would expect that, as usual, they will cover the topic well and give sound up-to-date commentary.  The program goes to air on Sunday at 9am and is repeated on Tuesday at 7pm.  See details in the forwarded email below.

I would also urge you to attend the Melbourne Community Engagement event by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in Melbourne on 28 October.  Please find details here.  Please RSVP.  While the website doesn't make it explicit, because of huge attendances across the Basin, it is imperative that you RSVP to 1800 230 067 - and turn up early to ensure you get a seat.  At other engagements, some of those who have RSVP'd have not always managed to get into the room, let alone get a seat!

To catch up on what is happening, please go to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority site.  If you are part of the Twitterverse, there are extensive conversations and comments to be had on Twitter.  If you can't find these to tap into and want to get in on the conversatons, please email me back and I will forward some hashtags.  In addition, you will find quite a bit of commentary on my own site, The Network.  And interesting documents you can link to or download atRivers Research.

Finally, you might think there is not much for Melbourne in all of this because we are not actually in the Murray Darling Basin.  This is not the case. We are affected.  

The North-South Pipeline takes water from the Murray Darling Basin (75 gl annually) to deliver via the Sugarloaf Reservoir to Melbourne.  Many Melbournians spend their leisure time within The Basin and, in addition, water availability effects the price, type, and availability of our food.  Those of you who joined in GreenFaith Australia's Walking Humbly:a journey to the Murraywere able to get to the heart of The Basin's water issues up front and personal.

So please listen to Background Briefing on Sunday and please book now for the MDBA Community Engagement Event to be held next Thursday.  And please forward this to all your networks.

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