The Weekly Advertiser

Water: A must for healthy living

Dean Lawson editorial 2 2017

We hope all sides and levels of government have more than a tokenistic look at results of an in-depth study into the socio-economic value of recreation and environmental water.
Results suggest that Wimmera and southern Mallee waterways are subject to hundreds of thousands – not thousands or even tens of thousands – of visits each year.
They also show that during these visits, people are pumping $27.5-million into the region’s economy, while at the same time gaining all sorts of health benefits.
If you think the numbers are staggeringly high, you are not alone.
It has been well-known, at least anecdotally, that our lakes, wetlands, weir pools, creeks and rivers have more than a simple water-supply value. We observed as much during the millennium drought.
But what the Wimmera Southern Mallee Socio-Economic Value of Recreation and Environmental Water 2017 study has revealed is that the value is much larger than many of us thought.
If fact the results tell us that for the Wimmera and southern Mallee to seriously prosper, we not only like to have access to recreation and environmental water, we need the resource.
In a world of climate uncertainty, especially in our already dry part of the state, our leaders must consider these results when debating water-supply issues.
We have established considerable security in supply through the wonderful Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline, but is that now enough and should we expect more?
Our water storages are in a strong position from a basic supply perspective – a significant water allocation from Rocklands Reservoir to Lake Toolondo tells us as much.
GMWWater is also fulfilling all sorts of recreational water obligations with piped flows to various community centres, particularly in the northern Mallee.
Despite getting water to Lake Albacutya in the southern Mallee being fundamental in the pipeline project going ahead, we’ve yet to have enough river flow to reach the terminal wetland.
If what the socio-economic study suggests is true, we need fresh ideas that explore not only protecting our access to water in our part of the world, but also what we could do if we had an abundance of the precious liquid.
Hmm! Victoria has a desalination plant sitting idle on the other side of Melbourne.
We appeal for our leaders to put politics aside, take a bi-partisan approach and seriously explore the possibility of somehow using the cob-webbed insurance-based plant or its infrastructure to water the drier parts of the state.

The entire September 27, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Sep 27 2017

Posted by on Sep 27 2017. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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