Directory : Water Directory 2013
PAGE 4 Water Directory 2013 INTRODUCTION FROM THE MINISTER Achieving Sustainable Water Use For All Australians The Australian Government's vision is to achieve sustainable water use by doing more with the water we have. By supporting communities, irrigators and industries we can deliver on the water needs of communities, farmers and the environment. Late last year, the Government signed a final plan for the Murray-Darling Basin into law, ending a more than 100-year argument between the states on how to manage this important resource. The Murray-Darling Basin is the largest environmental asset on the continent and our most important production asset. A key challenge here has been to overcome more than 100 years of disagreement between the states on how the rivers and water resources of the Basin should best be managed. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan delivers on the Government's commitment to restore the Basin's rivers and wetlands to health, while at the same time providing support to ensure strong regional communities and sustainable food production into the future. The Plan will ensure enough water is secured for environmental purposes, and rivers and wetlands remain healthy. This plan guarantees that year-on-year the system for the first time in the past century will get healthier and not weaker. Importantly it guarantees that we have turned the corner on our most important agricultural production asset and we have done it in a way that works for and supports communities. That's why we will invest primarily in on-farm efficiency works that generate water savings for the environment and other projects as agreed by states. The Plan returns 2750 gigalitres of surface water to the environment. It also includes an adjustment mechanism that enables the sustainable diversion limit (SDL) to be changed in ways that provide benefits to the environment and communities. This means we can use the mechanism to improve environmental, social or economic outcomes provided that improving one doesn't sacrifice others. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, also announced a commitment of an additional $1.77 billion to relax key operating constraints and recover an additional 450 gigalitres of environmental water through projects with no social or economic downsides for communities. The Government is fully committed to bridging the gap between current diversion limits and those allowed under the Plan, thereby ensuring individuals' water entitlements will not be affected by the recovery of water for the environment. When recent infrastructure announcements are taken into account, over 1,500 gigalitres of water has already been secured for the environment. Sustainable water use is not only an issue for the Murray-Darling Basin. National leadership is also required for the challenges of meeting future water needs in our growing towns and cities in the context of a drying climate. There are many opportunities to make better use of our urban water supplies by exploring alternative sources, employing new technology and infrastructure, and improving how we manage this precious resource. The water industry is supporting many advances in this area. Through the 10-year Water for the Future initiative, the Australian Government has made significant funds available to increase the efficiency of urban water use. In particular, the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan is supporting stormwater harvesting and reuse, water recycling and desalination projects, and research through two centres of excellence for desalination and water recycling. Achieving sustainable water use promises a future for all Australians that sustains industries, and supports strong communities with robust economies and a healthy environment. In the long run, all Australians beneft from the more effcient use of water. -- Tony Burke, Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Tony Burke, Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Water Directory 2014