Alarming reality: 'We don't have a long term water strategy'
NORTHERN Rivers businesses are calling for immediate water solutions to ensure the longevity of the region.
After Casino residents were placed on level three water restrictions last week, NSW Business Chamber's Northern Rivers Regional Manager, Jane Laverty, said business leaders are calling on governments to think long-term solutions when it comes to water.
"We have been feeling the impacts more keenly in our inland areas however with the Casino restrictions, it remind us that we have devastating dry conditions closer to home and we need to be more proactive about our water management and future water security," Ms Laverty said.
"The NSW Business Chamber is calling for an urgent strategy to be developed and for state and federal government to commence talks on what short-term and long-term actions they will take to address the water crisis.
"We're calling for that strategy to be developed and that means the federal and state governments working together,"
"There's a lot of reviews but they're not really addressing the fundamental issue, which is we don't have a long term water strategy or plan in place that prepares the state adequately for drought.
"In the short-term, policy makers can't do much apart from sinking more bores and bringing water into communities - the damage from past inaction has been done."
Ms Laverty said longer-term decision makers need to stop wasting water and ensure water usage is balanced and efficient.
"It is also critical for policy makers to put in place long-term infrastructure plans to shore up water security," she said.
"People don't often appreciate that the drought has been made so much worse through widespread water mismanagement and waste.
"The big question we need to be asking is whether state and federal water plans are irreparably damaging regional communities.
"Water is our most precious commodity, and we cannot afford to waste a drop. Current mismanagement that has allowed for over extraction, meter tampering, and over-bank flows, is wasting precious and limited resources.
"This leaves regional communities in a much weaker position to deal with drought.
"As the drought bites and we head into what is looking to be a hot, dry summer - tensions are going to rise and people are going to get angrier. So we need these reviews right now."