U.S. Water News Online
CANBERRA, Australia -- Eleven eminent scientists have
proposed that Australia cut its water use by up to a quarter to
resuscitate its ailing waterways.
Many Australian rivers have been reduced to a trickle by the vast
amounts of water drawn off for irrigation by farmers. Farmers are
allowed to use water under a variety of different state and territory
``Australia desperately needs a national effort to restore and
protect our fresh water resources,'' the scientists said in a
statement. ``The health of our rivers, wetlands, estuaries and
groundwater systems is fundamental to the future of our cities,
industries, communities and agriculture across Australia.''
The scientists have drafted the proposal at the request of the
heads of Australia's nine federal, state and territory governments,
who will discuss it at an annual summit on Aug. 29.
The plan calls for a new nationwide system that give farmers
financial incentives to reduce water consumption. Major cities need
to cut water use by 25 percent over the next 30 to 50 years, the
The scientists are led by Prof. Peter Cullen, a freshwater
ecologist who was named Australian Environmentalist of the Year for
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