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The Forum > Article Comments > Donít waste the Murray River! > Comments

Donít waste the Murray River! : Comments

By Valerie Yule, published 1/7/2010

There is such a thing as treason, and selling away our life-blood is one of them: water must remain in public ownership.

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"We look at the Aboriginal inhabitants who in 40,000 years or more lived sustainably on its banks and harvested its wildlife without extinctions. A notable element in this sustainability was keeping their population within the bounds of droughts and floods."

The Aboriginal population was kept in check by things they had no control over, like disease and starvation. They lived 'sustainably' because they didn't have the technological ability to live any other way. Their track record on the extinction of large mammals suggests that like other tribes elsewhere, they cheerfully stuffed up their environment for short-term gain when they could figure out how.

Incompetence is not a virtue. Stone Age technology doesn't automatically confer sainthood.
Posted by Jon J, Thursday, 1 July 2010 7:26:47 PM
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Valerie,
While I too have reservations about transfering regional wealth(in this case water) into cities that have stepped beyond their own sustainable limits, thats about as much as I can agree with.
Except maybe the "Millions of us depend upon this river"- for that is surely the case in terms of the hundreds of thousands of jobs linked to irrigation and tourism, let alone those who simply live near it.

I'm not sure if you've noticed but there has been a bit of a drought in the Murray Darling over the last several years, and the floods you lament simply hadn't existed let alone been extracted.
The Darling river has had a glorious run only recently, the floodplains have been inundated to levels unseen for decades. I'm told the wildlife rejuvination is outstanding - which in itself indicates how nature has adapted to boom and bust cycles. Despite irrigators getting a share too.

"It is still not worked out which crops are best suited to different areas especially with water-hungry cotton and rice. Other crops such as dried fruit would prosper more if they could compete with Middle Eastern imports which have low labour costs but a high real cost in freight"

Isn't it better to grow what we are competitive in? And presumably make a profit with.
Obviously farmers grow cotton and rice because it nets them the greatest return with the resources they employ. These crops are expensive to grow and require significant labour so it's certainly not for fun or to see how much water they can use. Australia's has the highest cotton yields and water use efficiency in the world, rice is up there too.
Isn't it better to grow what we are competitive in?

"we are using the water overseas for the production of our imported food too"
Can you see the irony in that? After all we nearly all wear cotton garments and have eaten rice. Surely it's best to grow the most product you can with the least water wherever that be in the world, which Aussie cotton and rice growers do.
Posted by rojo, Thursday, 1 July 2010 11:09:47 PM
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Just thought I'd pop this in for you Val.
World record rice crop for Australia's farmers this year. Once again.

http://www.abc.net.au/rural/nsw/content/2010/07/s2946139.htm
Posted by rojo, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 9:46:57 PM
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