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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) [PDF document] 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 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.

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

  5. What Wyong Shire Council is doing.

    Tuggerah Lake Estuary is a series of three interconnecting lagoons that have a small opening entrance to the ocean at The Entrance. The majority of water that enters the lagoon system comes from the five creeks / rivers that enter from the catchment.  This system is a unique environment that houses many special animals and plants.  Council has many programs the community can become involved in; to learn more about the management of Tuggerah Lakes please go to www.wyong.nsw.gov.au

    Mates of the Lakes is a program that aims to build a relationship between community groups, residents, key stakeholders and the environment by funding community group projects which raise awareness of the Lakes. The program includes activities and workshops, projects and opportunities for the community to become involved in helping to protect our lakes.  To get involved or to learn more about Mates of the Lakes and the Tuggerah Lakes go to www.wyong.nsw.gov.au/environment/tuggerah estuary management plan.

    Tuggeranauts is an exciting program that aims to engage primary school aged children in environmental activities and workshops and provide information on the Tuggerah Lakes estuary and catchment area.  The program hopes to engage young children to become ambassadors of the lakes to help protect this unique environment.

    Water Education on the Central Coast is an important part of schools programs as the region has many waterways that need protection and also provide some of our potable water sources.  Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils have developed four Water Education programs focused on saving water, managing water at school and at home, and protecting our environment. Water Education in Preschools Program, Central Coast Watertight and, Blueplanet focus on early childhood, primary school and high school education, while Living Water Smart is the Councils’ Community education program. For more information on these programs please go to www.wyong.nsw.gov.au/environment.

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.