Protecting the environment’s water in the Murray-Darling Basin

Bill Johnson, River Ecologist and former Water Manager with the Murray Darling Basin Commission

For a few years in the 1990’s the NSW water agency had on display, in the foyer of its offices in Parramatta, a statue celebrating tampering with irrigation meters and, by association, water theft. Sculpted by the Department’s creative souls in Moree, this two metre high artwork was exhibited in Head Office. It was the agency’s celebration of the larrikin irrigator, his irreverence and defiance of authority, even while that agency was the authority being defied.

To My Darling

My Dearest Darling,

From the first time that I sat beside you in 1974, I have always loved you. Your peacefulness, your beauty, your generosity, your power. Gradually I learnt your history and came to know the people who have loved you since time began. The more I got to know you, the more I loved you – through the good times and the bad, through the floods and the dry times. From Wiimpatja I learnt a little bit about the customs of caring for you and understanding you. These customs had ensured that you nourished people with water, food, shelter, warmth in winter, coolness in summer, celebrations, stories and meaning.