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Help protect our waterways

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Our water practices over the past 200 years have brought many of our waterways to their knees. Help restore our rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Over the last two hundred years, our land clearing, unsustainable water usage and certain farming, industrial and business practices have contributed to the degradation of the health of our waterways. Signs of this decline include the loss of biodiversity; toxic algal blooms; declining water quality; increased salinity and sedimentation. This affects the health of more than 1,000 estuaries around our coast. The most potent example is the estuary at the mouth of the Murray, our greatest river system, being blocked from the ocean. This has come about because we have extracted too much water from the system.

There are many things we can do to increase our understanding and help heal our rivers, lakes and estuaries.

How to do it now!

  1. Demand that adequate environmental flows are restored to all Australian rivers.

    A UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education report on the global trade in embedded water in agricultural products (2005) [PDF document] found that Australia has an annual net loss of 57,000 billion litres of water! This means, Australia's net trade in agricultural products incurs a water loss of over twice the water that we capture annually in all our dams and catchments.

    Drought and water shortages are exacerbated by the poor management of our natural resources and we all have a responsibility to support responsible water management. Australia's annual water loss figures do not include our non-agricultural water deficit resulting from wood, paper and aluminium exports.

    Voice your concern by writing to your state MP or the Minister for Water.

    Locally, MidCoast Water has recently conducted a comprehensive investigation into the environmental flow requirements of the Manning River. This information helped to inform the development of a Water Sharing Plan for the river, which sets extraction limits to protect water for the environment while also securing the rights of water users, such as towns, farmers, industry and irrigators. For more information on Water Sharing Plans visit the NSW Office of Water’s website.

  2. Join a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) and add your voice to their lobbying activities. NGO's concerned about waterways issues include:

  3. Include 'river restoration' in your assessment of who to vote for in the upcoming elections.

  4. Join a community river action group to replant, clean up and protect your local waterway.

    The best place to start is to find local groups working on your local waterway. So Google your local river, lake, estuary or creek with 'friends of' or 're-vegetation of' etc, meet the local experts and find your way.

    • Friends of Browns Creek (Taree) – 6552 5009

    National organisations involved in regeneration of the land also specialise in river and estuary regeneration projects. Try:

  5. What Greater Taree City Council is doing.
    Council supports local community groups and individual landholders involved in natural resource management activities from bush regeneration to riverbank restoration.

Greater Taree City Council are currently undertaking two large environmental restoration projects aimed at improving the water quality of the Manning River by remediating highly degraded acid sulfate soil areas in the Pipeclay Canal/Cattai Creek Catchment.

Council also undertakes a number of projects that rehabilitate and restore the environment such as the regeneration of the Wingham Foreshore and the Cattai Wetlands, and has prepared a number of plans of management to enhance our natural resources.

The Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) also supports local communities to better understand and manage our region's natural resources.

The CMA receives funding from the NSW and Australian Governments to invest in regional projects and programs in line with the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Action Plan, the NSW State Plan, and the Australian Government's Caring for our Country program.

The CMA works in partnership with individual landholders, urban residents, local government, landcare and community groups, Aboriginal communities, industry groups and other agencies to deliver on ground actions to improve the resilience of our region's unique landscapes.

Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
PO Box 440, TAREE  2430
Location: 98 Victoria St, Taree
Phone:  6551 8994
Web: http://www.hcr.cma.nsw.gov.au/

Why is this action important?

Fresh water is the lifeblood of nature. Without it, we would not have clean air, food, drink and many aesthetic and recreational benefits. Therefore, we need to ensure we use water in a sustainable way. We need to share it with all life on the planet and respect and value this lifeblood. The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the drought and famine that can soon follow.