Water worries in Oz

I have been reading the results from a US meteorological survey about the declining water levels in world's major rivers.

Peter Gladwell

I have been reading the results from a US meteorological survey about the declining water levels in world's major rivers. The survey names three of these rivers; the Ganges in India, Yellow River in northern China and the Colorado in the United States.

Not only does this indicate the decline in the amount of fresh water but also about the reduction in water flowing down into the oceans.

The finger points towards climate change and in Australia we can clearly see the effect this is has been having on our two main rivers, the Murray and the Darling.

Agricultural production and fresh water supplies to cities and towns in three states rely heavily on the Murray River, especially in South Australia where the Murray supplies most of Adelaide's drinking water.

For many years the federal government and state governments from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have been haggling and dragging their heels in trying to reach agreement over the amount of water they can plunder from this already depleting river.

Most Read

Several million dollars have been wasted by pouring money into state-run activities, all of which have done little if anything to improve the river's flow or prevent agricultural toxic chemicals seeping into the water supply.

As a consequence the poor water quality is threatening fish stocks and oxygen levels, the life blood of the river, and the wildlife that depends on it for survival.

Fortunately the Darling has benefited from the torrential rain and flood run-off in parts of Queensland over the past 12 months and while this has helped flush out the river the effects are felt further down where the Murray and Darling join at Wentworth in southern N.S.W.

Drought in Victoria's Riverina and Goulburn Valley districts has impacted heavily on soil quality with reduced crops, particularly in cereals, stone and citrus fruits. Some canning factories have closed, causing a rapid rise in the area's unemployment levels.

These problems are further exacerbated by an arrogant state government located in Central Melbourne with citycentric ideas, lack of vision and poor listening skills.

Over the past week or so the Federal Reserve Bank has tried yet again to kick-start the nation's economy by lowering the official interest rate by a further half percent to the lowest level in many years. But at the same time manufacturers, retailers and airlines have been forced to reduce staff levels increasing the already rising unemployment numbers.

The latest redundancy notices have been issued by Qantas, the national airline, following lower than expected profit levels over the last quarter.

They plan to cut 1,700 people from their work force, reduce their fleet and cut out some of the unprofitable routes and cancel new aircraft orders, including some of the new A380 airliners. No doubt this will have a knock-on effect in the UK and Europe where components, wings and engines for these planes are manufactured and assembled.

This morning the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has said the forthcoming Federal Budget to be announced in a few weeks time is facing a 'huge challenge' as dire global conditions continue to squeeze Australia's economy as it heads into a recession. Many would argue the country is already in a recession judging by poor profit results and confidence among many businesses, falling growth, rising unemployment levels and concern about lowering investment. The Treasurer's comments come in the wake of the IMF's gloomy assessment of global economic conditions.