Water's Fall examines the massive rationalisation of Australia's water in the closing decades of the 20th century and investigates two major breakdowns: the Big Pong in Adelaide in the autumn of 1996 and the contamination crisis in Sydney in the winter of 1997.

Water is special. We drink it, swim in it, wash with it, and are mostly made up of it - now we sell it for profit. Maintaining a clean, safe supply of this precious fluid fundamentally determines
not just our quality of life, but life itself. Yet in recent decades, Australia's water supply and disposal systems have undergone a massive transformation. Two major urban public health crises - the Big Pong in Adelaide and the Contamination Crisis in Sydney - have highlighted the great dangers in the new method of management.

WATER'S FALL - Running the Risks with Economic Rationalism by Christopher Sheil & illustrated by Bill Leak
11.30 am Friday September 8, The Jubilee Room, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Underground water is discovered in Western Australian that seems to make all other plans to bring water to the desert redundant. The Officer Basin covers 10% of the state and has only 20 bores. But will overuse cause land collapse? See Age article.
In mid-February 2000, 100,000 tons of cyanide sludge leaked into the Danube river of Romania. The sludge was produced by a gold-mining operation run by a West Australian company. This environmental disaster demonstrates the fraught relationship between gold and water.
Clair Miller ' The Politics of Water ' The Age 9/10/99 focuses on the attempt to restore flow to the Snowy River, brought to attention with the balance of power now held by independents, one of who was elected on the demands to bring the river back to life. Where will the water come from?

`I think the other issue that has been lost in this debate is that if there are logical arguments supported by Melbourne people for the Snowy River, then are they prepared to give up their water from other catchments?'' Walsh said, referring to the 70per cent of Gippsland's Thompson River flow that is diverted to Melbourne. The fact the city has escaped water restrictions despite three dry seasons in a row is not lost on dairy farmers in Sale who face reduced allocations for another year. Craig Ingram was also elected on the strength of their disgust - different river, but same theme of being bled dry for the benefit of others.

Water treatment plant in Mildura
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