NSW Shadow Water Minister Clayton Barr (right) with Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman. PHOTO TWH
As water restrictions loom, the politics of water usage were back in the spotlight with the visit to Bourke and Brewarrina by Labor’s shadow spokesman for water Clayton Barr.
Mr Barr said he was keen to tour as much of the Darling river system as possible to see firsthand the impact of decisions made in Macquarie Street.
“When I was here about eight months ago it was very dry and quite confronting and so it is good to see the country looking better than it was, to see crops planted, and stock in the paddocks,” he said.
“The water levels in the Darling are falling and it seems to be a case of either drought or flood - hence the importance of storage so we can hold the water back.
“That’s why I am so keen to see as much of the system as I can. Having to consider water restrictions in Bourke raises the issue of raising the weir but then there is the issue of what happens downstream.
“The discussion is always about preventing water from going more naturally downstream, but we just need a strategy that secures water for places like Bourke that almost hit zero during the drought.
“What are we going to do in the longer term? Are we going to just keep reacting in a desperate way or are we going to have a long-term plan and conversation?” he asked.
Mr Barr has a fear of flying and prefers to be ‘on the ground’ meeting people in the communities along the river system. He said with the changing climate, communities and governments are going to have put everything on the table to find ways to make the water stretch further.
Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.
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