Pipe dreams continue
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.