Good times reignite the water wars

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“South Australia wants more Murray water reaching its end (the proposed farming reduction is well short of the 3000 to 4000 gigalitres proposed by the authority in October 2010 and less than a third the volume the authority then said was needed to fully restore the rivers); the other states want to give up less.

Irrigators upriver are at loggerheads with others down river; the battle between graziers and irrigators has spilled into violence; some environmentalists won’t be satisfied until river farming goes away altogether; environmentalists and graziers have formed an unusual alliance against cotton farmers, accusing them dubiously of destroying the prized Macquarie Marshes. And the irrigation lobby warns that shrinking their overall entitlement risks not just their livelihood and national output but also the wellbeing of hinterland communities, which would shrivel as jobs and cash evaporate.

That self interest is ever-present should surprise no one. It is always thus, and asking one contestant to surrender their self-interest usually is an attempt by the adversary to preserve their own.”

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