Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth yet we are internationally renowned for our water management practices and making every drop count.
Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, said it was important for all Australians to stop and take notice of how critical water is for everyone this National Water Week, 18 October to 24 October.
“Australia is recognised as a world leader in water management because collectively we do such a lot with so little,” Minister Pitt said.
“Irrigated agriculture generated $16.5 billion for the Australian economy in 2018-19 – supporting about 150,000 jobs and thousands of regional communities.
“Australia’s water works hard – it’s there when we turn on a tap at home, it’s there to support our extractive industries, like mining, it’s an essential input to growing our food and fibre – and it’s there when we want to get away and unwind camping and fishing.
“This National Water Week is a chance for us all to think about how we use and value water.
“Our farmers have been doing it for generations – using water judiciously to produce the safe, high quality food and fibre that we rely on.
“Our cotton producers are among the most water efficient in the world and are now producing twice as much cotton per megalitre as they did 30 years ago.
“The Australian Government supports our farmers, who are internationally renowned as great innovators and as irrigation technologies improve, they’ll continue to lead from the front of the pack.
“We’ve committed $100 million to the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme that has reimbursed more than 8,000 farmers up to 25 per cent for on-farm water infrastructure to water livestock and permanent plantings during drought.
“It’s why I announced the $269.6 million Murray–Darling Communities Investment Package in September 2020, to put farmers and their communities back at the heart of Basin Plan implementation.
“Our government knows that when our farmers are doing well, so are our communities.
“We’ve established the Inspector-General of Water Compliance, Troy Grant, recognising that you need a strong compliance system to underpin fair and efficient water sharing.
“The $20 million Murray–Darling Healthy Rivers grant program recently closed to applications – receiving 137 small grant and 85 large grant proposals.
“These grant rounds are over-subscribed showing the value communities put on improving the health of the rivers and wetlands in their local area.”
“This Water Week is a time for us all to reflect on how far we have come – and continue the good work so we can all contribute our share to caring for water and country.
“I encourage everyone to take full advantage of the spring weather and improved conditions across much of the country – and get outdoors and enjoy their local river or wetland this National Water Week.”