Magazine article Ecos

Let Progress Flow

Magazine article Ecos

Let Progress Flow

Article excerpt

Despite the OECD giving Australia just a B- for sustainability performance in its latest ten-year assessment (page 4), March was a good month for the environment.

The combination of an eventual power-sharing water control deal for the Murray-Darling Basin and the Australian-led Earth Hour campaign added up to the sense of a deepening shift in national commitment to making a difference.

As Earth Hour showed, making even small efforts gets very infectious. The ultimate challenge now must be to truly follow through and prove that sense of progress manifestly correct. There's been much agreed on before where the Murray-Darling is concerned, but today, some years down the track, the release of the billion-dollar critical environmental flows, central to the discussions, are apparently largely still to eventuate. There is, however, a complicated and knotted system of interests to untangle.

The April-May issue is in part dedicated to the late Professor Peter Cullen, who helped raise the urgency of national water management problems. He emphasised the need to act immediately beyond wider discussion. It would be fitting if the new COAG agreements actually saw fast action flowing to where it is needed most. Peter's work in the last few years points the way.

This issue's Focus on 21st century irrigation (pages 10-13) is related. Graeme O'Neill provides perspectives on how Australian irrigation practices and hardware must be modernised to deliver better water efficiency under drier conditions, increased demand and the new licensing arrangements ahead. …

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