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Drinking water quality in Walgett, river system concerns televised by distressed residents

Walgett’s mother, Kylie McKenzie, had no idea that the water from the tap was slowly destroying her son Xander’s immune system.

New South Wales Water Minister Rose Jackson met with Mackenzie and other residents on Friday to hear their concerns about the town’s water quality.

After the meeting, Ms Jackson announced that Walgett’s water supply would be returned from the well to the river by Wednesday as a “short-term” measure.

Aboriginal elders are calling for more permanent solutions to ensure the long-term health of river systems and the water security of their communities.

The town’s water treatment plants have been unable to treat the turbidity and blue-green algae in the Namoi River, and for the past five years have been forced to rely on poor quality well water.

High sodium levels in well water have been considered dangerous for people with chronic illnesses, like Mackenzie’s son.

“During the summer he was constantly dehydrated and we didn’t know why,” Mackenzie said.

“Now we know—we were pumping him with sodium.

“We try to keep him hydrated, thinking we’re doing the right thing, but we weren’t.”

Vanessa Hickey says the abuse of the river system broke her heart.()

“We are river people”

Aboriginal leaders of the Daliwa Elders’ Group called on the Minister for sweeping reforms to protect the river.

These demands include enforceable extraction limits, higher penalties for water theft, end-of-system flow priorities, annual independent audits of water management, and a maximum of 20 milligrams of sodium per liter of Walgett drinking water. It is included.

Vanessa Hickey of the Daliwa Elders Group cried as she explained to Mr. Jackson the condition of the river.

Hickey said he remembers swimming in the Barwon and Namoi rivers as a child.

“We Aboriginal people, especially outside Wolgett Way, we are river people,” she said.

“Our responsibility is to take care of our country and take care of our totem.

“We Aboriginal people have done nothing to do this and are now suffering.

“We have dams, we have cotton fields, we have coal seam gas, we have floodplain harvests. How do our rivers recover when they keep flowing?”

Rose Jackson says Walgett’s water treatment plant and river have been neglected for years.()

Ms. Jackson did not announce at the meeting that she would address the long-term systemic problems facing the river system.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-29/walgett-drinking-water-distress-aired-at-forum/102281886 Drinking water quality in Walgett, river system concerns televised by distressed residents

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