Water! Water!

Submitted by Rick Eyre on April 21 2007, 2:38 pm

"...if it doesn't rain in sufficient volume over the next six to eight weeks, there will be no water allocations for irrigation purposes in the [Murray-Darling] Basin."

- John Winston Howard, press conference, 19.4.07

It would be easy to see this as another example of the PM playing politics and thus response with the line Howard to Farmers: Drop Dead. But it's a problem much more genuine and more serious than that.

The unassumingly-titled "Drought Report #7" linked from the Murray-Darling Basin Initiative home page tells the story. Cancelling all irrigation allocations for the 2007-08 year is a drastic threat.

There's a lot more to be said on this issue. Australia's inter-related environmental crises should be a bipartisan issue that transcends politics, unfortunately that will not be the case. For starters, I would recommend that you listen to last Friday's edition (MP3) of Radio National's excellent Bush Telegraph, their daily rural current affairs program, for some reaction from the people who will really hurt - the farmers.