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Water has always been an extremely important part of my life and I have had many experiences with it from a young age, mainly because of how I started swimming lessons before joining school. Many of my most wonderful memories are of me either jumping into a pool or swimming at a beach on a blistering hot day. Back then, I had never really thought of water as a luxury because of how easy it was to access and use. However, because of the recent disastrous droughts that have occurred in New South Wales, I have come to notice more and more about how much our society and nation actually relies on water as a resource.
Whether that be economically, spiritually, culturally or aesthetically, we all depend on water as it is a necessity in our daily lives. The Darling River supplies an enormous amount of water around the state and country and is unfortunately, one of the areas being affected by this horrible drought.
The question is, how can we fix this problem?
The Darling River is the third longest river in Australia at 1472 kilometres in length and is part of the Murray Darling Basin, which is the largest river system in Australia. The size of the river means that it has many ecosystems and is home to hundreds of species of native plants and animals. There have been several reports of mass fish deaths in the past few months with millions of fish dead in some instances. All of these innocent creatures have suffered because of the effect that this drought has had on the Darling River.
These creatures all rely on the water in the river just like us humans do because it is essential in order to survive. This also means that we humans are also suffering from the decreasing amounts of water in the Darling River. With the water level at such a critical amount, farmers and irrigators of the area alike are struggling immensely to keep their farms and other properties supplied with running water. The residents who are living in these areas are also suffering because of the lack of water in the river.
There are many different people who value and use the Darling River water in many different ways. The Darling River is an essential source of water and provides around 3,780 GL every year. However, now it is harder for irrigators to provide this water to farmers because of the drought as well as people who are taking more than their share of water. This means that all around the state, the number of crops being planted is dropping dramatically which has a huge impact on the economy because this means that the amount of resources being exported is also decreasing.
The Darling River is one of the many bodies of water being affected by the drought which is reducing the amount of water in these areas. However, the drought is not the only reason why the water levels are in a critical state. Recently, news stations such as ABC News have reported that the Darling River “has been reduced to puddles” and that “much of the blame has fallen on cotton irrigators”. The mass fish deaths that have been reported recently are said to have been caused by poor management by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority or the MDBA as well as the cotton farmers and irrigators upstream who are taking more than their share of water from the river. This then causes droughts in the areas downstream which are then causing all of these fish deaths. It is hard to believe that these droughts are occurring because of the greedy cotton farmers and irrigators who just don’t know how to share. Our society needs this water to survive and live our lives so we need to do something about it.
We may all value and use water differently but we all certainly need it to survive. It is an extremely necessary resource but if our society doesn’t step up to prevent and stop these droughts and disasters, we may be seeing ourselves being dragged into an unstoppable whirlpool of tragedies. Our recent negligence has created many problems for our society and other ecosystems alike. We must realise that selfishness and carelessness will result in similar events to this drought. We as a society must come together and make sure that this vital treasure, water, does not disappear.
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