Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Not a Drop Part 2: Save 'Rocky'

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Not a Drop Part 2: Save 'Rocky'

Article excerpt

FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK

BILL NORTH

Editor

TAKE your gloves off and dig your heels into the muddy (edit: crystal-clear rocky) banks of the Clarence.

We're going in for round two of the Not a Drop: Keep the Clarence Mighty campaign and this one could be an epic battle for the ages.

Views on how best to manage water vary greatly depending on whether you watch sunrises over sea or sunsets over dusty plains.

Those inland dwellers living in the rain shadow of the Great Dividing Range and sparse expanses beyond are in the grips of despair, pondering ways to manufacture reliable water supplies to ensure their longevity.

Southern Downs councillors voted in favour of submitting a project to divert water from the upper reaches of the Clarence River west as top priority in a list of significant projects to the Federal Government.

They see a seven per cent water allocation with large volumes flowing out to sea as a waste.

We know natural river flows are imperative to sustain fish stocks that drive our tourism industry in the upper and lower catchment, as well as commercial viability in the estuary.

They perceive that piping water inland will have little impact on coastal communities while rescuing the economic viability of Australia's food basket.

We know a dam would have a disastrous impact on farmers living downstream in a Valley where primary production - which includes beef, sugar cane, aquaculture, prawn trawling, fishing, macadamias and blueberries - is worth almost $500 million to its annual economy.

The Southern Downs region incorporates councils from Toowoomba, Western Downs and Southern Downs in Queensland as well as Tenterfield Shire in NSW and has "a major deficit in access to secure water supplies for urban consumption and for agriculture", according to Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio.

"New sources of water can include diversion from the headwaters of the Clarence River basin via the Maryland River," Cr Antonio said. …

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