Pipe dreams con­tinue

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

We have said it many times be­fore, but there is lit­tle doubt that in our part of the world, wa­ter is as valu­able as gold.

If we ever need a re­minder, all we need to hap­pen is for the heav­ens to turn the tap off for a while and see how peo­ple re­spond.

A lack of rain quickly be­comes the topic of dis­cus­sion – not only among farm­ers, but just about any­one who might no­tice cracks widen­ing in the Wim­mera clay, veg­e­ta­tion ap­pear­ing more stressed than usual and a crispy dry­ness in the air.

Hope­fully, a lengthy spell of dry au­tumn weather is on its last legs and with a break in the sea­son we will see rain wash away some of the anx­i­ety build­ing across the re­gion.

Wa­ter means ev­ery­thing in re­gional and ru­ral Aus­tralia, let alone Vic­to­ria. It pro­vides a foun­da­tion for sta­bil­ity, eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity and so­cial health and well­be­ing. It is more than an as­set – it’s an es­sen­tial re­quire­ment for peo­ple and places to pros­per.

If con­struc­tion of a North­ern Mallee Pipeline rep­re­sented a break­through in western Vic­to­rian wa­ter sup­ply, then the fol­low-up cre­ation of the Wim­mera-mallee Pipeline was the stuff of dreams.

Now we’re see­ing a pipeline net­work, an en­gi­neer­ing mas­ter­piece re­plac­ing thou­sands of kilo­me­tres of waste­ful chan­nels, con­tin­u­ing its spread across vast stretches of the state.

For­get about the pol­i­tics for the mo­ment, the State Gov­ern­ment’s financial com­mit­ment to an Eastern Grampians Wa­ter Sup­ply pro­ject is great news for ev­ery­one and paves the way for it be­com­ing a re­al­ity.

The pro­ject, along­side the South West Lod­don Pipeline now un­der con­struc­tion, will fit in neatly along­side the Wim- mera-mallee piped net­work. That means a mas­sive part of Vic­to­ria will be the ben­e­fi­ciary of sig­nif­i­cant wa­ter se­cu­rity, some­thing that other parts of the coun­try, let alone the world, will never ex­pe­ri­ence.

What we ask now is for our lead­ers to stop us­ing wa­ter sup­ply as a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball and adopt a bi­par­ti­san ap­proach to the is­sue at both state and fed­eral lev­els.

Pro­vid­ing se­cure ac­cess to wa­ter to com­mu­ni­ties goes be­yond tit-for-tat ar­gu­ments.

It should never be the sub­ject of po­lit­i­cal one-up­man­ship, a bla­tant tool to win votes in a swing­ing elec­torate or a chance to gain a par­lia­men­tary de­bat­ing edge.

It is about spend­ing money to pro­vide clean, safe and se­cure wa­ter where it is needed or even might be needed in the fu­ture, be it for wa­ter­ing a crop, turn­ing the tur­bines of in­dus­try or keep­ing a garden alive.

Fun­da­men­tally, it is also sim­ply the right thing for a modern state in a modern coun­try, re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sion, to achieve. Let’s just get on with it.

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