Letter to the Editor, Northern Daily Leader: Phil Spark, Tamworth NSW. 8th October 2019

Letter to the Editor, Northern Daily Leader: Phil Spark, Tamworth NSW.

“I agree with Barnaby the government does face annihilation, but not because it hasn’t built dams, rather because it hasn’t acknowledged the climate emergency and is out of touch with people who fear for the future of more frequent and extreme weather events.

People can see that building more dams would be a waste of money, and would only lead to increasing water use and more degradation of river ecosystems.

It is 1950’s thinking that building dams will solve our problems. It is that thinking that got us into this problem; more dams would only be digging us into a deeper hole.

The reason we have a water crisis is because water use is over allocated and there is less of it to go around because the weather is getting hotter and drier. There is not a single drop that is not already committed to providing for agriculture, towns and the environment.

Building dams is not going to make it rain anymore, just further degrade the already dying rivers that are predicted to have a fish armageddon this summer.

The weather we are experiencing is the result of 1 degree of global warming, by some miracle we might halt warming to 1.5 degrees but more likely 2 degrees. The point is this is no natural disaster and we are not going back to normal or average weather conditions for a long time if ever.

This is a new scenario requiring water plans based on the predictions of climate science not based on what is politically acceptable as was the case for Murray Darling plan. The current water crisis clearly demonstrates current use is unsustainable. It is the sign of the end of the era of limitless and unsustainable growth, and a new era requiring innovative ways to keep everyone in a job.

With diminishing water resources comes the potential for increasing conflict. No town or industry can be allowed to increase its water use at the expense of other users; all users will need to do more with less water and work cooperatively to share the limited resource.

The future is going to be very challenging; we need futuristic leaders who up to that challenge and not dinosaurs whose thinking is 50 years out of date, and out of touch with the people who are really worried about climate change.

If they don’t step up the government will face annihilation at the next election.

IRN member honoured with Dubbo Day Award for volunteer efforts

Mel Gray, an Inland Rivers Network member based in Dubbo, was honoured with a Dubbo Day Award on Friday 22nd November. Mel has volunteered much of her time since she’s lived in Dubbo to improving the health of the Macquarie River and Marshes through her association with several community groups including Dubbo RiverCare, Western Paddlers NSW and Healthy Rivers Dubbo.

“Mel Gray: Mel has donated much of her time to unpaid work for various community organisations and it is a wonder she has any hours left to do her paid work. Mel is one of the driving forces behind Dubbo Bushcare, now Dubbo RiverCare Group, she has spent years working along local waterways to improve the riverine environment. Mel became a River Ambassador tasked with raising broader public awareness about the fragile nature of Macquarie River and the world heritage listed Macquarie Marshes the river feeds. She is a natural when it comes to forming partnerships with an innate understanding that there is so much to do in the environment yet so little state or federal funding and that groups and organisations need to network and work together, pooling limited resources to create a critical mass which has the power to get things done. A deserving recipient of this award”.

Short-sighted politics threatens untold damage to NSW communities

This week we saw yet another angry outburst from the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, threatening to “walk away” from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The basin plan is a compromise. It’s not going to be enough to achieve a healthy river, particularly as climate change imposes its footprint across the basin, but it is a fundamentally important first step towards the long-term health of the rivers and the long-term viability of irrigated agriculture.

It would be a tragedy for the long-term recovery of Australia’s largest river system that supports millions of job to be thrown away for the sake of short-sighted politics. Walking away from the plan might be perceived to benefit a few irrigators but it would cause untold damage to all communities throughout the basin.

The Age Short sighted politics threatens untold damage to NSW communities

‘Disdain’: Anger as Broken Hill pipe business case finally released

The justification for the $500 million Broken Hill water pipeline prioritised irrigators and all but ignored the environment, according to the project’s business case that has finally been released by the government.

The so-called Final Business Case for the Broken Hill Long-Term Water Supply Solution was handed to independent MP Justin Field after multiple “calls for papers” and requests since its proposal in 2016.

www.smh.com.au anger as Broken Hill pipeline business case finally released

Farm Online NSW’s Broken Hill pipeline leaves Murray Darling high and dry

River on the Brink: inside the Murray Darling Basin

Exhibition runs Fri 20 September 2019 until Sun 3 November 2019.
Watson Road, Observatory Hill (The Rocks)

Shervin Gallery

This timely exhibition presented in collaboration with Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery,  focuses on what is the most pressing environmental crisis of our time:  the on-going devastation of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Art, by mysterious means, has a way of penetrating the hearts and minds of people prepared to pause and look. Led by Barkindji artists, the powerful revelations on display at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in September 2019, followed by Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in May 2020, will re-enforce the need to act now and save our vital waterways.

The artists featured in River on the Brink include Badger Bates, Elisabeth Cummings, Nici Cumpston, Ruby Davies, Bonita Ely, Paul Harmon, Julie Harris, Eddie Harris, Kim Harris, Waddy Harris, Brian Harris, Amanda Penrose Hart, Martin King, Euan Macleod, Guy Maestri, Ian Marr, Justine Muller, Idris Murphy, N.O.T., Ben Quilty, Luke Sciberras, James Tylor, John R Walker, Melissa Williams-Brown.