Part of the back-story -
After we learned about and understood there was a very real problem with water and river flows in Western NSW, Earthling Studios went to see The Darling River, to talk to people affected by the total loss of river flows, and to record our conversations to share with the world.
The Darling River or "Baaka" as it has been known by Barkindji people for over 50,000 years finally arrives at its confluence with the Murray River at Wentworth, New South Wales, right on the state border with Victoria, 3,100 kilometres from "The Head" of the system.
From Wentworth she flows a further 575 kilometres south-west as Murray River water and out into the Great Australian Bight and Southern Ocean, south of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. The longest river system on the continent - 3,672 kilometres or 2,282 miles.
The area in NSW west of Cobar and downstream of Bourke is vast, but the population is only around 25-30 thousand people at best, which includes Broken Hill. This population also includes the Barkindji who boast the oldest known burial sites on Earth at Lake Mungo.
Increasingly, and especially over the past two decades, the Darling River has been reduced to a trickle at the best of times and is often and unusually stopped all together. This situation exists largely because of State and Federal Governments' mishandling of river-flows in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland.
Today the present drought is compounding the damage, but drought is not the problem with the Darling. In this case it is over extraction through licenced pumping, illegal "floodplain harvesting" and water trading; the latter being started by Prime Minister John Howard in 2004.
In 2004 the National Water Initiative was brought in by the Howard government allowing freehold ownership and inter-river trading of water-licences in Australia. In just 15 years this has directly resulted in an ecological disaster with global impacts. The social impacts are also huge, effecting farming communities and indigenous cultures all over Australia. This situation must be remedied or the consequences will impact to the very heart of Australian life-styles and freedoms, as dust storms begin to grow in magnitude and blow more regularly over the East Coast cities, closing airports and causing health problems with everyone.
It is not going too far to say that state and federal government water policies, and the law is actually killing Australian people and drastically altering wildlife and life supporting ecosystems right now.
The National Water Initiative document is attached below and is relatively easy to read as far as the signatures, around page 23. It seems most of the "good stuff" in it have been either ignored or suppressed by extremely powerful fiscal forces related to banks and irrigators. All the exploitative ideas in it have been taken up with much gusto.
Remember, without any water, everything dies including whole regions. The evaporation and ground-water recharge of Menindee Lakes when full is estimated to be around 350 gigalitres per year, that is about one billion litres per day (one million tons of water evaporating every day). This charging of underground aquifers, the evaporation related humidity and condensation has supported plant and animal life in Western New South Wales for half a million years. When the lakes are empty, one million tons of water vapor, is absent every day.
Now the river-flows have been largely stopped through dodgy processes that only a federal royal commission could ever unravel. The result appears to be the beginning of a total ecological and geological collapse throughout the Western Division of NSW. The problem doesn't only effect the biological and vegetation of the region. The actual soils and geological substrates of the entire region seem to be collapsing due to a lack of water in and on the ground. Council workers in Wilcannia report that frequent breakages in the towns water system indicate the ground under the town is actually collapsing. Large dust storms too are becoming more frequent as the biocrust that holds the soils together are drying out and falling apart.
There is a major fiscal collapse in Western NSW as well. The millions of native fish, emus and many other native birds and animals that have fallen dead through this
slowly unfolding disaster are not the only victims. People too have lost their sanity, their homes, life savings, families and even their lives because of this situation.
To stop the flow of the Darling River and drain Menindee Lakes prohibiting the evaporation and groundwater recharge is to unleash a geologic catastrophe of global proportions. The dust storms from there already reach New Zealand and if not sorted out soon, the problem will just get worse and worse, until it is too late to reverse a total collapse to a dust bowl.
Nature, and life supporting systems are being erased by bad economics and one-eyed corporate greed.
Systems that support life and all of us on this Earth need to be protected through Rights Of Nature Legislation if we are to share a happy and flourishing future.
Terra-Australis (the continent of Australia) is being made into a baron dessert by extractive fiscal forces, mining, banks and short sighted land managers.
The inland of Australia is suffering from obvious generational decline that will surely end in tears unless we take a good look at ourselves and prioritise life and care for our country, over our present lust for loot.
Please take time to read the letter to the Australian Prime Minister.
Below are some links that will help you to better understand the issues.
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