Since embarking on the production of my first feature-length documentary film Cuttlefish Country a year ago, my life been dedicated, broadly speaking, to investigating the topic of water justice in South Australia. While we initially approached the topic from a marine biodiversity perspective (through examining the potential impact of large-scale desalination plants on Gulf systems) the scope of our enquiry expanded rapidly to include groundwater use and to a lesser extent, catchment management. For the benefit of readers beyond our borders, South Australia boasts a reputation for being the driest state on the driest continent on this blue planet of ours. Needless to say, in SA, water management has the potential make or break the health of our environment, our primary industries’ productivity and the sustainability of our towns and cities.
I am very pleased to have met many intelligent, articulate and activated experts and concerned citizens through the course of making Cuttlefish Country (the production is ongoing), and am looking forward to attending tonight’s Water Justice Forum in Adelaide. I expect to listen and learn from the wisdom of others and broaden my knowledge on the history of water resource management in SA. I also expect to hear some though-provoking visions for water-wise future in my home state. If you’re in Adelaide and reading this, I sincerely hope to see you there.
The event is co-presented by the Water Action Coalition and The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, 50-55 North Terrace, Adelaide. Doors at 5.30pm for a prompt 6pm start. The panel discussion will feature short presentations from each speaker, followed by a question and answer session. The event is officially described as follows:
The natural water resources of the River Murray are critical to the environment, economy and population of South Australia. Any Basin Plan that fails to ensure that South Australia receives a fair share of the water resources of the Murray-Darling Basin, for consumptive use and to sustain its precious environments, presents a significant threat to the rights of this state. In addition, South Australia’s share will only be truly fair if it is sufficient to allow for the full range of natural variability of climate cycles, the projected impacts of climate change and the requirements of a growing population.
This forum seeks to discuss the legal matters of those rights at a community level, with an emphasis on South Australia, its history, the problems with sharing those rights and to discuss what can be done to achieve water justice for all South Australians.
The forum speakers will focus on the following topics:
- Brief History of Water Allocation & Creation of Property Rights as Water Shares – Professor Jennifer McKay, UniSA Professor of Business Law
- What are the Problems with Sharing Water between & within States? – Professor John Williams, University of Adelaide Dean of Law & Adam Webster, 2012 Fulbright Scholar winner
- What can be done to Achieve Water Justice for all South Australians, including indigenous Australians? – Shaun Berg, Berg Lawyers
The event is free to attend. You an register your attendance here. For full event details, visit the Hawke Centre’s website. For those unable to attend we will be posting videos from this event on our Youtube channel in the following fortnight.