The following manifesto was drawn up by rural and city-based activists.
* * *
Water is life.
We have the right to free, clean drinking water. Our communities, sustainable farming and tourism depend on clean water. As our rainfall patterns change, our only dependable water is artesian, and it feeds and is fed by our catchments and rivers. Our rivers and catchments are in crisis and our artesian basins are being poisoned.
We demand governments:
- Leave water in the rivers. Filter and return water stolen from the rivers by big irrigators.
- Strip water licenses from water thieves.
- Stop irrigation or mining pumping during low-to-medium flows.
- Give tanks and filtration systems to all stakeholders in river communities and fund tertiary water recycling.
- Ban water speculation and trading.
- Ban floodplain harvesting.
- End transferable water licenses. Anchor water to properties.
- Rivers are living systems. Give river communities deciding power over keeping rivers alive. This must include First Nations communities who have been traditional guardians over river health.
- Prosecute and ban operations of corporations that pollute rivers, catchments or artesian basins; financial institutions that fund their operations; and politicians who enable them.
- Establish a Royal Commission and Forensic Audit into political interference in Murray Darling Basin Authority and a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption to act on findings.
- Make chain-of-command personnel responsible for anti-river decisions. Hold politicians, senior civil servants and corporate managements personally accountable for their decisions with heavy fines proportionate to the damage done and heavy jail terms.
- Charge full remediation costs for total damage, past and present, from mining by levies on the mining industry. No free water for mining.