NSW residents should not have to be concerned about whether they can afford or access such a vital resource.

NSW Drought

NSW residents should not have to be concerned about whether they can afford or access such a vital resource.

The recent fish kills in the Menindee Lakes, the hundreds of thousands of fish dying in what is now the third kill in less than two months, is alarming and devastating. It shows the need for improved long term, and strategic water management in our state. This was highlighted in the Water Inquiry I participated in, along with concerns about water affordability. NSW residents should not have to be concerned about whether they can afford or access such a vital resource.

It is an issue that has been on our radar for a few years now, and I took these concerns to the Minister in 2016, when I asked in Parliament;

How will the new 270 km water supply pipeline from the Murray River to Broken Hill alleviate any of the dryness of the Menindee Lakes and Darling River at Broken Hill? Does the Minister have any alternative plans to alleviate the dryness of the Menindee Lakes and Darling River at Broken Hill?”

I am also disappointed to see that the findings of the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission has found maladministration, negligence and unlawful actions by Commonwealth officials when the deal to save the Murray-Darling Basin was done. We all, myself included, expect more from the leaders that represent us.

Water is a resource we all need: families, towns, businesses, farmers, and the environment. We cannot see continued water theft, or draining of lakes resulting in decreased water flows and deoxygenated water which have resulted in the massive fish kills we are seeing. We cannot see deals done that result in one consumer gaining an advantaged over another in the sharing of such a vital resource.

We need to work towards drought proofing our state, we need to be building more dams and establish better water harvesting and recycling mechanisms. We cannot delay this, as it is essential for the economic health of our state. More needs to be done by the future government of NSW, other state governments and the federal government. And it will be the responsibility of myself and other Upper House members across Australia to hold those governments to account.

The findings and recommendations of the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission needed to be put into action so we can turn this situation around before it is too late.