Mar 22, 2007

World Water Day

World Water Day

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

22 March 2007

The impact of climate change, reduced water supply in urban areas and the over-allocation of water in the Murray Darling Basin mean this year’s theme for World Water Day – ‘Coping with Water Scarcity’ – is very appropriate for Australia.

Addressing Australia’s national water crisis is an urgent task, requiring constructive leadership and action from all levels of Government, particularly from the Commonwealth.

Across Australia, towns and cities confront severe water shortages. Water use and water supply in urban Australia is a national crisis.

The Murray Darling Basin and the city of Adelaide are moving into uncharted territory in terms of the amount of water available to irrigators and for domestic and industrial use.

This week’s report from the WWF that the Murray Darling Basin is drying out because of over-extraction is a wake up call for the Howard Government.

Addressing the over-allocation of water entitlements is critical to revitalising the water flow and eco-systems of the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Commonwealth has a key leadership role in resolving the over-allocation of water licences in the Murray Darling Basin and getting the rivers flowing healthily again.

On World Water Day, we should all be reflecting on the dramatic impact climate change will have on our water supply.

According to the CSIRO, by 2030 water supply for both Sydney and Melbourne will drop by 25% per year because of the reduced rainfall and higher evaporation from climate change. In the meantime their populations are expected to rise by 30%.

The Howard Government’s attempt to compartmentalise water from climate change is delusional, and is the latest example of a Government looking for a short term political fix, rather than a long term solution.

Addressing our water crisis requires taking action on climate change.

Practical immediate action and long term vision on both water security and climate change – that’s Labor’s agenda.