Farmers’ protest is a sign water politics is about to go into hyperdrive

Photo: The confluence of the Murray and Darling rivers. Farmers believe water is not being allocated fairly according to the government’s own rules. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

[h2oIQ editor’s note: we generally focus on North America. However, we are sympathetic to farmers everywhere and note that the issue discussed here could well be on the horizon in the Americas, as well.]

Protesters to drive tractors and trucks into the centre of Albury-Wodonga amid rising anger about water allocations

Water politics is about to go into hyperdrive in rural Australia and you need to know why.

On Tuesday morning, southern farmers, irrigators and fellow residents will drive tractors and trucks into the centre of Albury-Wodonga to protest about water.

Also imminent is the report into fish kills by a government-appointed expert panel, headed by Robert Vertessy, whose interim work suggested that without more inflows more fish kills could be expected.

With an eye to the rising anger, the government has announced a Murray-Darling Basin-wide study to assess social and economic conditions in river communities, reporting in December.

While you will hear some government members say we just need rain, the Albury protest is about so much more than that.

It is not farmer versus the environment, though some farmers clearly rail about the environmental take.

Farmers largely accept there needs to be environmental water. The rub is that once that water is taken out, southern irrigators believe it is not allocated fairly according to the government’s own rules.

That is, they argue big operators in northern New South Wales, Queensland and in South Australia […]

Summary
Farmers' protest is a sign water politics is about to go into hyperdrive
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Farmers' protest is a sign water politics is about to go into hyperdrive
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Farmers largely accept there needs to be environmental water. But once water is taken out, southern irrigators believe it is not allocated fairly.
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The Guardian
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