Today is World Water Day and it’s worth taking a moment to think about what we can do to help improve access to this precious resource. The United Nations has a goal of “water for everyone by 2030”. Nobody should be left without ready access to safe, clean water. It’s a human right, yet billions of people, especially those with little political, social or economic clout are living without access to safe water.
Australians are more aware of the need to be careful with water than people in any other developed country. We live on the driest inhabited continent on earth, so we know that water can run out, even in the biggest cities. It wasn’t very long ago that Brisbane faced a water crisis as dams dropped to extremely low levels. This month Sydney has had to turn on its desalination plant for the first time since it was completed in 2010 because dams have dropped to less than 60 per cent of capacity.
Here in Queensland a drought has sucked the lifeblood out of rural landscapes for the past seven years. The latest maps show that 58 per cent of the state is drought declared, including 90 per cent of the Whitsunday and Isaac Regional Council areas.
One of the biggest threats to water security in Queensland is the Adani mine. It could damage aquifers that feed the Great Artesian Basin and harm 160 spring fed wetlands that are vital during times of drought. That’s why federal government scientists have recommended further research to ensure that no damage will be done.
Adani has also been issued with a licence to extract up to 12.5 billion litres of fresh water annually from the Suttor River without proper environmental scrutiny. That is a big number, in fact it's a bit more than the entire city of Mackay takes from Dumbleton Weir each year to supply the 122,000 people who live in the city.
Australians witnessed the dying Darling River after excessive water extraction. We don’t want the same result in Central Queensland’s river systems. It’s no wonder that people are so concerned about the impacts the Adani mine will have on water.
If you do just one thing this World Water Day to protect our water security, sign the petition calling on our federal political leaders to review Adani’s environmental approvals, including its water licences.