Tag Archives: Stud

Australia and water management a similar issue to the Colorado River in the USA

Some time ago I wrote a blog on the issues of bad water management in Australia. A country that many believe is one of the driest in the world. In fact Australia has one of the largest catchments on the globe of fresh water in the Great Artesian Basin covering a third of the country.

Australia the Great Artesian Basin covers a third of the country
Australia the Great Artesian Basin covers a third of the country

The Artesian Basin can be mapped from the top north through Queensland into New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Yet water from the Darling, Murray river system one of the greatest river basins in the world is being plundered. This water system covers 3,375 Kilometers (2,097 miles) in length. The  Darling, Murray basin spreads out over 1,061,469 sq Km (409,835 sq ml). Water is being pumped out of this great river system at an alarming rate an example is Cubbie station Queensland the largest irrigation property in the southern hemisphere damming off from the Darling river system more water than is in Sydney harbour. This water theft continues along the entire system into South Australia with large properties pumping these great rivers dry in many cases to irrigate crops that are not natural to the country, cotton being one such crop. This mismanagement is placing pressure on the natural environment and indigenous commodities. In the 1800s and early 1900s this great river system was alive with water traffic, steamers carried passengers, wool and grain .

Australia Darling river transport
Australia Darling river transport
Wilcannia on the Darling River NSW today -image Shane Aurousseau
Wilcannia on the Darling River NSW today -image Shane Aurousseau

Today especially the Darling river it is lucky if a rubber bath duck could navigate the system. Management of the Artisian basin would not only take pressure off the great systems of the Darling and Murray it would also open the potential of the great Australian inland. The plundering of the two great rivers of Australia in currently a major issue of anger towards the federal and state governments especially from the smaller property stations that need fresh water irrigation along the system. There is also anger from the aboriginal community who own many of the river bank rights in Australia. There is a great feeling in the Aboriginal community that the natural environment is being plundered by an uncaring ethnic European government thus widening the gap between these two indigenous groups.

1918-lancahire-lass-and-barge-darling-river
1918-lancahire-lass-and-barge-darling-river
Australia Belswick Merino Stud Condobolin NSW
Australia Belswick Merino Stud Condobolin NSW
Darling River today - image Shane Aurousseau
Darling River today – image Shane Aurousseau

The issue of Water management in Australia is not dissimilar to the problems faced by communities along the Colorado River in the United States.

The Colorado River starts in Rocky Mountain National Park along the jagged edge of the Continental Divide at over 12,000 feet of elevation. The river cascades, flows, tumbles, and rumbles through 1,450 miles of mountains, canyons, high plains, and low deserts on its journey to the Sea of Cortez

Colorado-2
Disappearing Colorado River USA

in Mexico. The entire Southwest United States completely depends on the Colorado River and its tributaries – the states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, and California use the river’s water for farming, drinking, growing lawns, and generating hydroelectric power.

Thirty million people in the Southwest use the Colorado River’s water for their material sustenance; millions more use the river itself for recreation and spiritual enjoyment. The river quenches our thirst, feeds our souls, enlivens our senses. And we are not the only inhabitants using this river – its waters, canyons, and habitats provide a vibrant but deeply threatened ecosystem for untold numbers of plant and animal species. All of these competing demands make the Colorado River one of the most contested and controlled rivers on Earth. Over the last decade, humans have drained all of the river’s water – all 5 trillion gallons – before it reaches the Sea of Cortez. The Colorado River is in very bad shape and deeply threatened.

To serve the needs of human populations, for the last decade the Colorado River has been completely drained dry by the time it reaches the Sea of Cortez. While the destruction of the river is a clear and obvious consequence of our actions, additional threats to the Colorado River – from its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, all the way to its dry destiny near the Sea of Cortez – are increasing with each tick of the clock.

Climate change is looming, population growth is escalating, more dams and diversions are planned, species are on the brink of extinction, oil/gas/mineral exploration near the river is increasing, and invasive species are continuing their march up and down the river and its tributaries.

The Save the Colorado campaign won’t be able to address all of these threats, but it’s important to tell the whole story and begin the critical work of restoration. http://savethecolorado.org/

As a species we are extremely bad at managing our natural resources.

Shane Aurousseau

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Australia the last Frontier

 

Australia the last Frontier

I  recently finished a photographic tour of inland western and northern New South Wales  my home state.  its  development has been an interest for me for sometime. What I found during this trip was a worrying trend of an’ I’m OK Jack’ culture..

IMGS5913
Australia NSW Condobolin preparing the flock

Australia is a country that offers so much especially from it’s richness in commodities much of which it has a ready market for in China. The issues that worried me were ones of development and management. When I first travelled from Australia 40 years ago the country had a population of around 9 to 10 million, today it is 23 million mainly coastal inhabitants. However much of the wealth is not drawn from the coast but the Outback once the great dividing coastal mountain ranges are crossed. The country has the potential to be commodity self sufficient.

Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep
Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep the finest wool


The potential for self sufficiency is confirmed  by the amount of mines,  farms, cattle ranches and sheep stations. Merino wool  is still the world’s finest.

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Australia NSW Lightning Ridge Black Opal mining

Much of Australia’s manufacturing industry has been lost, the final blows coming with the withdrawal of the car industry manufacturing including the Australian iconic Holden brand.

Union and government inability to see eye to eye and manage this incredible country has been a contributing factor. however having said this the attitude of the coastal Australian is one of ‘ let’s have another barbie and go to the beach’ few even realise that their farmers have failing crops due to lack of rain and many have had their land repossessed by greedy banks who don’t give a damn for the development of the country. The immediate quest for short-term  profit seems to be the goal of many banks the world over. I have always said that ” banks that do not contribute to the management of society are irrelevant to society”.

A major contributor and hinderance to Australia’s development is infrastructure. Bring this up to most Australians and the retort is but we don’t have the money or people and to add we don’t give a damn, Taxing major corporations properly could change this issue. The  only time that the average Australian will give a damn is when food and retail commodity prices hit totally unaffordable levels. Then their will be wailing and gnashing that the prices are too high and still it will take a term for the penny to drop that the farmers and commodity  developers should have been taken care of.

Images-of-the-Outback-(58-of-60)
Australia NSW Dubbo road transport

Infrastructure there are many developing regional centres, you only have to look at the size of the supermarkets that have grown up in regional centres mainly Woolworths and Coles but now challenged by Aldi. These groups are the real business people and see the advantages and potential for growth. If you look at Spain and the infrastructure that is going into place  in a country that has just gone through a major recession you have to ask why not Australia. The average myopic Australian would argue that Spain has a larger Population. The average European will say that Spain has ripped of the Euro Zone for that money – better than  being spent on expenses by corrupt Euro politicians. Spain now has one of the finest high speed rail networks in the world after China. Link Sydney, Dubbo, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and you will develop the interior of those states. Link Perth and you will develop Western Australia. Have the guts and the people will come.   Getting a bus from the national capital Canberra to the major centre of Dubbo is a substantial exercise. Only one goes on Saturday and it goes through half of New South Wales.

Australia gets only 5 million tourists per year, half of those probably Chinese coming in and out to visit family; Spain gets 65 million, France 85 million and the UK 35 million. Now some would say that this is due to Australia’s isolation. I would however argue that the differential is too great and needs a closer look. Australians seem to be in cop-out mode. Promotion of Australia is mainly in English in the UK and yet the cross section of other nationalities in Australia has now become great indeed.

It is almost a no brainer to develop a rich country like Australia if there is a government without vested personal interests.The Australians are so limited in their thinking that unless they take action to manage this great country they will lose it. Already the Chinese own almost everything employing the Australians.   Now I don’t have a problem with the Chinese investment in Australia without it the Australians would have bankrupted the country. The Chinese bring a lot of good things and should be welcomed. However when you own something and sell it you should retain a interest in what you have built especially as it is  your main home.

The-Outback-(4-of-107)
Australia NSW Wilcannia the dry Darling
The-Outback-(1-of-107)
Australia NSW Wilcannia the dry Darling river
Dry river outback NSW
Australia NSW the dryness of the Outback

The damage done to the Darling river and many other rivers adding to the mismanagement of water through the country. Once steamers travelled along the Darling river. Australia’s Artisian Bore covers 23% of the country one of the biggest water basins in the world yet it is not tapped properly in times of distress for farmers. The Snowy river scheme which was one of the engineering wonders of the world is not working properly and generating the irrigation that it should.  Cubby station in Queensland dams off more water  than  Sydney Harbour contains.  The South Australians are plundering the great Murray river without a management system in place

To get the development right you need a government with the will. , Link the great centres  and the people will come; Australia has one of the best living possibilities in the World and could be the leading light in Asia.

Photographer Shane Aurousseau