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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
20 October 2002
With drought starting to bite across the nation, National Water Week (20-26 October) highlights the critical nature of water to all Australians, whether on the land or in the cities Federal Environment Minister Dr David Kemp and Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said today.
Water for Life, National Water Week 2002 features events, activities, field days, family days and competitions across Australia raising awareness and encouraging people to get involved in water issues.
Mr Truss said water issues affected all Australians - not just farmers in drought.
"This year we will all be affected by the drought in some way. Most people don't realise just how variable Australia's rainfall is. In addition to this, we live on the world's driest inhabited continent. I encourage all Australians to use National Water Week as an opportunity to learn more about how they can make a difference to managing this precious resource."
Dr Kemp urged Australians to get involved in water week activities by contacting local or State water authorities or Waterwatch coordinators.
"The Victorian Spokesperson for National Water Week, Tammy van Wisse reminds us that Water is one of our most precious resources," Dr Kemp said.
"In urban Australia, water flows out of the tap so readily, that it's easy to take it for granted.
"In some parts of Australia, our rivers and groundwater resources are stressed, with symptoms of overuse including increasing salinity levels in our soil and water, algal blooms in our waterways and loss of biodiversity.
"Joint Commonwealth Government initiatives such as the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality reinforce the Coalition's commitment to water management across Australia."
National Action Plan Roundtable on Salinity and Water Quality, being held in Mildura between 27-30 October, will showcase selected regions and strengthen the links between practitioners, policy developers and program managers responsible for water management. More information can be found on the web site at www.napswq.gov.au.
For more information about National Water Week activities contact State Water Agencies or Local Water Authorities.
Dr Kemp's office Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Mr Truss's office Tim Langmead (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433