Help protect our waterways
Over the last two hundred years, our land clearing, unsustainable water usage and certain farming, industrial and business practices have contributed to the degradation of the health of our waterways. Signs of this decline include the loss of biodiversity; toxic algal blooms; declining water quality; increased salinity and sedimentation. This affects the health of more than 1,000 estuaries around our coast. The most potent example is the estuary at the mouth of the Murray, our greatest river system, being blocked from the ocean. This has come about because we have extracted too much water from the system.
There are many things we can do to increase our understanding and help improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries.
How to do it now!
Demand that adequate environmental flows are restored to all Australian rivers.
A UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education who(2005) [PDF] found that Australia has an annual net loss of 57,000 billion litres of water. Australia's annual water loss figures do not include our non-agricultural water deficit resulting from wood, paper and aluminium exports. This means that Australia's net trade in agricultural products incurs a water loss of more than twice the water that we capture annually in our dams and catchments.
Drought and water shortages are exacerbated by the poor management of our natural resources and we all have a responsibility to support responsible water management. You can voice your concern by writing to your state MP or the Minister for Water.
Join a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) and add your voice to their lobbying activities. NGOs concerned about waterways issues include:
Include 'river restoration' in your assessment of who to vote for in the upcoming elections.
Join a community river action group to replant, clean up and protect your local waterway.
The best place to start is to find local groups working on your local waterway. So Google your local river, lake, estuary or creek with 'friends of' or 're-vegetation. The volunteer groups in your area will welcome an extra pair of hands and happily share their local knowledge with you.
National organisations involved in regeneration of the land also specialise in river and estuary regeneration projects. Try:
- Canning River Eco Education Centre (CREEC) - is focused on increasing awareness and understanding of the Canning River and the Park through environmental primary and secondary education programmes and activities. As well as resources for classes, workshops and overall community development for local volunteer groups and corporate organisations.
Why is this action important?
Fresh water is the lifeblood of nature. Without it, we would not have clean air, food, drink and many aesthetic and recreational benefits. Therefore, we need to ensure we use water in a sustainable way. We need to share it with all life on the planet and respect and value this lifeblood. The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the drought and famine that can soon follow.