You never thought that water theft is real ? You are interested, how climate change alters our interaction with each other already? Come and have a look.
Wait a second…, why is this post worth reading?
At first, I thought I had stumbled onto a remake of Mad Max, a fiction, but it was actually a documentary on ABC, a well-known and trusted Australian broadcaster. The massive fight for water is no longer just a topic for an post-apocalyptic film, but real.
During my search for interesting Australian photo locations, I quickly came across the Murray-Darling Basin. It’s not only Australia’s largest river system almost 3,500 km long, but also the feeding center of the continent. The water’s reach and basin area is as large as Germany and France together!
As I investigated I suddenly discovered an eye-opening topic: the theft of hundreds of billion liters of water!
With my short summary and my captured images, I would like to highlight the incredible beauty of this area. However, I also show that climate change, whether induced by humans or not, is real, has an impact on our coexistence and sooner or later affects us all.
To put it in a nutshell, water theft happens, because in times of severe drought it is apparently more lucrative for some huge cotton farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin to grow even less cotton and sell previously hoarded water to smaller farms instead. Here is a photo of a water reservoir, so you get an idea about the dimension. The giant farms each have multiple reservoirs.
As it turns out, hundreds of billions of liters of water were illegally withdrawn from the river by the accused, with estimates of as much as five times the allowable amount. After 20 years in the banking industry, I’ve certainly seen a lot, but this almost took my breath away. At the base of the river, people have no drinking water and tens of thousands of animals on the smaller farms die miserably.
This provides an interesting example of social behavior when faced with resource-constrained situations. I do not want to be a moralist here, and I do not have a solution (if that exists at all) in my hip pocket. That this is an extremely complex problem can be seen already in new allegations against the government of New South Wales for not protecting the river system in a sufficient way.
The most interesting aspect of this story for me is how even something such as natural resources and survival elements are subject to a competitive environment in which the usual laws apply. Even if that is probable in theory, it is quite something else to have a concrete example play out so clearly before your eyes.
I would love to receive your opinions on this topic, so please leave a comment below.
If you want more detailed information you may find it at the following two links.
The readers among you will find a good article about the latest episode of this drama.
For video fans there is the 4Corners report here. 45 minutes may well change your point of view.