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Help protect our waterways

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Our water practices over the past 200 years have brought many of our waterways to their knees. Help restore our rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Over the last two hundred years, our land clearing, unsustainable water usage and certain farming, industrial and business practices have contributed to the degradation of the health of our waterways. Signs of this decline include the loss of biodiversity; toxic algal blooms; declining water quality; increased salinity and sedimentation. This affects the health of more than 1,000 estuaries around our coast. The most potent example is the estuary at the mouth of the Murray, our greatest river system, being blocked from the ocean. This has come about because we have extracted too much water from the system.

There are many things we can do to increase our understanding and help heal our rivers, lakes and estuaries.

How to do it now!

1. Demand that adequate environmental flows are restored to all Australian rivers.

A UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education report on the global trade in embedded water in agricultural products (2005) found that Australia has an annual net loss of 57,000 billion litres of water! This means, Australia's net trade in agricultural products incurs a water loss of over twice the water that we capture annually in all our dams and catchments.

Drought and water shortages are exacerbated by the poor management of our natural resources and we all have a responsibility to support responsible water management. Australia's annual water loss figures do not include our non-agricultural water deficit resulting from wood, paper and aluminium exports.

Voice your concern by writing to your state MP or the Minister for Water.

2. Join a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) and add your voice to their lobbying activities. NGO's concerned about waterways issues include:

3. Include 'river restoration' in your assessment of who to vote for in the upcoming elections.

4. Join a community river action group to replant, clean up and protect your local waterway.

The best place to start is to find local groups working on your local waterway. So Google your local river, lake, estuary or creek with 'friends of' or 're-vegetation of' etc, meet the local experts and find your way.

Latrobe City has many active community environmental groups, including:

There are also community groups supporting particular bushland reserves, rail trails and national parks, these include:

  • Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve
  • Crinigan Bushland Reserve
  • Jean Galbraith Flora Reserve
  • Ollerton Avenue Bushland Reserve
  • Traralgon West Railway Reserve
  • Morwell River Wetlands
  • Mathison Park
  • College Park and Sandy Creek Reserve
  • Wirilda Environment Park
  • Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail
  • Mirboo-Boolarra Rail Trail
  • Tara Bulga National Park
  • Morwell National Park

More information and contact details for the above listed groups can be obtained from the Natural Environment Sustainability team at Latrobe City on 1300 367 700.

National organisations involved in regeneration of the land also specialise in river and estuary regeneration projects. Try:

Why is this action important?

Fresh water is the lifeblood of nature. Without it, we would not have clean air, food, drink and many aesthetic and recreational benefits. Therefore, we need to ensure we use water in a sustainable way. We need to share it with all life on the planet and respect and value this lifeblood. The consequences of doing otherwise can be seen in the spreading deserts across the world and the drought and famine that can soon follow.