In National Water Week, with a theme of ‘water — the heart of our culture‘, the River Fellows and their friends from across the Murray-Darling Basin came to Canberra to meet with key politicians, to deliver their message that we need the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to be effective and to deliver enough water to keep our rivers flowing and healthy enough to support river communities.
The River Fellows Program coordinated the Healthy Rivers Roadshows at 11 community meetings across the Murray-Darling Basin, from Dubbo and Broken Hill to Goolwa, Meningie and Adelaide. People with a range of interests and backgrounds came together to hear about the state of the Basin Plan and to show solidarity in standing up for a fair share of water for all communities, upstream and downstream. Petitions signed at these meetings were supported with more than 24,100 signatures, and these were presented to the Prime Minister.
These messages of concern and support were carried into Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 14 Canberra in National Water week. We formed small delegations with representatives from across the Basin to participate in 13 meetings with 14 politicians and 5 key advisors. The 3 key requests made were:
- implement the Basin Plan in full, with 3200 GL of real water or real equivalent outcomes from proposed water efficiency projects which will reduce the amount of water recovered
- undertake a judicial enquiry into recent allegations of water theft and capture of environmental water by irrigators
- not to approve the package of efficiency projects which will reduce the amount of real water recovered until all enquiries are concluded.
This is just one step in the process, with new relationships started, information being exchanged, and ripples spreading out from all our activities in Canberra! Well done River Fellows!