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Efficient water use will ease rural drought assistance.

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SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT Queensland Democrat Senator


Australian Democrats water spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett has urged the federal government to spend more on encouraging water efficiency measures in the bush as a means of reducing the need to boost drought assistance funding.

“If the federal government provided more funding to farmers to utilise water more efficiently, they wouldn't need to spend so much on drought assistance,” Senator Bartlett said.

"It is estimated that one-third of Australia's irrigation water is lost or unaccounted for before the water gets to the farm gate.

"At the moment we have uncapped bores, poor irrigation channels that are subject to evaporation, seeping and leakage, and poor storage systems.

"Once at the farm gate there are still farmers using inefficient water systems, and who can't afford to invest in new water efficient technologies.

"The federal government should, as a national priority, assist farmers invest in technologies and mechanisms to reduce water wastage.

“The government should also be doing more to ensure that water for domestic and industrial use is no longer wasted and that more effort is put into the full recycling of water.

"Water wastage affects households as well as farmers. Our water shortage problem is at crisis level and our governments should be treating this as a national priority," Senator Bartlett said.

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Media Statement Friday 13 October 2006