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Fair Water Use

Water-poor Australia is also the world’s biggest water exporter!

Australia uses huge volumes of water to produce products for export, but cannot find enough water to keep its river systems alive.

St George floods: Senator Joyce should address causes - not symptoms

Senator Joyce should comment on the impact of landscape-scale bulldozing of native ground cover and natural land features during the construction of cottom farms and other broad-acre irrigation enterprises, when he calls for damming of the Balonne River in Queensland, in response to the St George floods. Original media release.

Murray Darling Basin plan must not become a political football

National public water rights and environmental advocacy group Fair Water Use is encouraged by the broad recommendations made in the guide to the draft Basin Plan released earlier today by the Murray Darling Basin Authority, but is concerned that Federal and State parliamentarians will use the forthcoming consultation period to justify softening of the Plan for short term electoral advantage, rather than to promote the long term interests of the river system and its communities.

See also: Murray Darling Basin plan must not become a political football

Tony Burke must respect independence of MDBA

Comments yesterday from Tony Burke, Federal Minister with responsibility for water, appear to infringe upon the statutory independence of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, according to environmental and public water rights advocacy group, Fair Water Use.

Australian politicians selling-out on Australia's water security

Without obtaining the prior mandate of the electorate, successive Australian governments have been seeking to establish a water-market in this country. For as long as the people of Australia are required to “buy-back” the nation’s water, especially during times of crisis, they will have no water security. Bidding-wars, as currently being waged by Senators Wong and Joyce, are now an unattractive and dangerous feature of Australian water policy: profits arising will be privatised but the impacts will be borne by the Australian public. The electorate of this country must be given the opportunity to indicate whether it wishes its water to be privatised and exposed to global speculation - or protected for future generations of Australians.

Protest at Adelaide Federal Community Cabinet to demand action to save the Murray-Darling

On Wednesday 20 January, South Australian State Independent MP David Winderlich is organising a massive protest outside a scheduled Federal Cabinet meeting to demand effective action to save the Murray-Darling. The recent inundations of the northern headwaters give this Government a rare opportunity to save the our dying river system, that is, if it has the political will to stand up to commercial interests who would, instead, divert this much-needed water for their own short-term gain.

When: 20th January 2009 at 4:30pm (assemble at 4pm)
Where: Norwood Morialta High School Oval, 505 The Parade Magill

Please phone (08) 8237 9278 or email benjamin.howieson [ AT ] if you can help.
See also: "MDBA legally obliged to place the health of Murray Darling above all else" of 12 Jan 10, See also: "Canberra must deliver on promised audit of private water storages" of 7 Jan 10,

MDBA legally obliged to place the health of Murray Darling above all else

When Fair Water Use contacted Mr Mike Taylor, Chairman of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority he confirmed that the MDBA is legally obliged to place the health of the river system ahead of all other considerations. Accordingly, Fair Water Use urged the authority to do all that it could to use the inundations that have blessed much of its northern headwaters to breathe life back into our dying river system and not allow this opportunity be squandered to serve narrow vested commercial interests.

See also: "Canberra must deliver on promised audit of private water storages" of 7 Jan 10.

State governments continue to promote untenable exploitation of the Murray-Darling

(Photo of Ian Douglas) The NSW Government's irresponsible allocation of 250 billion litres of water to produce a rice crop, worth only an estimated AU$55million, poses an unacceptable threat to the health of the Murray Darling system, including downstream comunities no longer able to drink the water which flows from their taps. Article originally published as "State of emergency" on 4th Nov.09 on ABC Unleashed web site. Media Release included. See also:

Campaign for State of Emergency on Water in Australia

Water, your life depends on it. And the state governments, whose responsibility it is, are not managing it properly. Fair Water Use is asking people to help with a national campaign, which is calling for the declaration of a State of Emergency regarding the Murray-Darling Basin and for independent management at a different level of government. We the people have to do something; we cannot leave it to state or national Australian governments alone; our lives may be at stake.

PM urged to take acting lessons from Californian Governor

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, has declared a State of Emergency over water shortage there, but Australia's water shortage is far worse and has been more prolonged, yet our ecologically uneducated, incompetent and corrupt politicians sit on their hands

as the Good Ship Australia heads faster and faster to run aground as a desert island.

See also: "Environmental group calls for declaration of State of Emergency to save dying Murray-Darling system" of 5 Sep 08,

National water crisis: Prime Minister missing in inaction

In response to today's news that the Queensland government is still considering activating sleeper licences to the Cooper Creek system, the coordinator of Fair Water Use (Australia), Dr Ian Douglas, is today reported as saying: "The Rudd Government stands condemned for its failure to put an end to the dysfunctional and conflicting governance arrangements that have brought the Murray-Darling to its knees."

See also: "Qld Govt told to keep hands off SA water" on the ABC on 3 Aug 09, "Artesian basin water auction sells out environment and farmers" of  Jul 09, "'Last undefiled waterway' threatened" by Asa Wahlquist in The Australian of 13 Jul 09,

Important Radio Interview:Ian Douglas on U.N. &Oz Water Rights, Royal Commission & State of Emergency

Tune in to this ABC Radio interview with Ian Douglas, National Coordinator of Fair Water Use about the role of private reserves in the disappearance of water in the Darling River today, 28-7-2009. Dr Douglas's comments go beyond the immediate condition of the Darling River, into Australians' human rights and our right to change laws. It explains why the UN backs the need for a Royal Commission. Publicity is being given to this interview because of the dire need Australia has of spokespeople able to form appropriate concepts and priorities on this matter.

Secretive Private water increase MAIN cause of Darling R. crisis - NOT drought - UN supports Emergency Enquiry

Listen to interview.
New data shows that the effect of the rapid increase in privately-held water in the Darling Basin on the volumes of water available for essential public and environmental use is the main cause of the water crisis, not the drought. The Senior water advisor to the United Nations supports a call for declaration of a State of Emergency and the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the management of the water of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Human Rights and Water

FairWaterUse: "The right to water will be declared an essential human right as a global commons. Under this definition, the right to water will be given precedence and advantage, in international and local law, over any other interests. Access to water will not be subject to market forces or to private or corporate interests. The precautionary principle of ecosystem protection must take precedence over commercial demands on water." The closing date for submissions to the Human Rights Consultation process established by the Federal Government is June 15th 2009.

South Australian tax payers set to bail-out Managed Investment Schemes

South Australia's emergency Critical Water Allocation scheme may end up subsidising, with taxpayers' funds, large environmentally destructive monocultural agribusinesses to the detriment of smaller, less 'profitable' farms, which would be more sustainable in the longer term.

See also:

How not to resolve the Murray-Darling crisis

As the nation struggles to find extra water to revive our dying Murray-Darling system, South Australian River Murray and Water Security Minister, Karlene Maywald approves a marina at Mannum requiring an allocation of 520 megalitres.

See also:, "Lakes may go dry but Adelaide's gardens still watered" in Farm Online on 31 Oct 08, "Win-win?" in the Murray Valley Standard of 31 Oct 08, "New marina approved on Adelaide's Murray river" in the West Australian of 30 Oct 08.

National Water Commission holds out desalination to dodge responsibilities to fix Murray-Darling Basin

Instead of acting to end the endemic abuses by corporate water users now threatening to kill our fragile Murray-Darling Basin, Ken Matthews CEO of the National Water Commission, is diverting the attention of the Commission towards the expensive, technologically complex and fossil fuel dependent 'solution' of desalination.

See also:, "Groundwater use unacceptable, says report" in SMH of 23 Oct 08

A national emergency? - you bet it is, partner

Last night's Four Corners report revealed staggering ignorance and/or greed at the heart of the Murray-Darling crisis: in politicians and water-users alike.

The Murray-Darling and the Wall Street syndrome

Just as US taxpayers were recently blackmailed into paying, with over US$700billion, for the recklessness of the Wall Street gamblers, Dr Ian Douglas of Fair Water Use (Australia) warns that Australian taxpayers can expect to be made to pay to save our fragile Murray Darling eco-system from the conseqences of the reckless and environmentally unsustainable extraction of its water by Australia's agricultural corporations.

See also: Parliamentary process fails the Murray-Darling of 13 Oct 08, The virtual urban-rural water divide of 16 Oct 08, Transcript of interview with Maude Barlow, Canadian water rights activist on Background Briefing of 12 Oct 08.

Parliamentary process fails the Murray-Darling

"If the federal Government fails to hold a full Royal Commission and to declare a State of Emergency to save Australia's dying Murray Darling system, the Federal Government will be remembered as the regime which oversaw the greatest preventable environmental catastrophe thus-far encountered by this country," warns Dr Ian Douglas of Fair Water Use (Australia).

Why 'market forces' cannot save Murray-Darling

Ian Douglas of Fair Water Use ( shows how the 'reform', commencing in 1994, which promised to rectify the Murray-Darling's chaotic piecemeal water management structure by making water allocations a marketable commodity separate from the land titles, has, instead, only help bring the Murray-Darling system to the brink of collapse . In accord with our national constitution's provisions for such national crises, he calls for the declaration of a state of emergency.

Originally published as Ending Australia's water torture on the ABC News web site on 16 Sep 08

See also: Environmental group calls for declaration of State of Emergency to save dying Murray-Darling system, Water stolen from dying Murray-Darling by technicality.

Rehabilitation of Murray-Darling threatened by NSW cotton farmers

Market forces not working: In the nation’s worst water crisis the cotton industry means to up its groundwater use, as this is cheaper than buying impounded surface water.

National Water Commission: No plan - no future for Murray-Darling

Fair Water Use (Australia) asks: Why has the National Water Commission which, according to their own core documents, "is responsible for driving progress towards the sustainable management and use of Australia's water resources," no national strategy to address the over-allocation of water that is killing the Murray-Darling system?

Murray-Darling water - It’s time to use the P-word

Whilst John Corboy, co-convenor of the misnamed Foodbowl Unlimited held out hopes 12 months ago that Australia may stand to gain from the impending collapse of China's and India's irrigated agricultural sectors, our fate may be little different should we fail to stand up to the corporate interests who gain from the over-extraction of water from the Murray-Darling system.

See also Fair Water Use media releases. For information on a related topic, see articles about the threatened privatisation of NSW's electricity assets.

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