Tag Archives: environment

save the murray

Follow this link to the SA Murray Irrigators blog to see SAMI chairman Tim Whetstone’s comments about how to save the Murray River. An edited version of these comments appeared in today’s Advertiser and there is a link from the SAMI blog to that report.

some like it hot

Register for Some Like It Hot here. Find out more below…

 

How grape growers can survive in the short and long term will be the key focus of a day-long seminar at Renmark later this year.

Organisers of the annual Some Like It Hot seminar on November 6 have organised a star-studded list of guest speakers to give a health check on the future of the Riverland wine industry.

Climate change, international exports and the River Murray will come under the spotlight at the seminar, which will be held at Renmark’s Chaffey Theatre.

Wine industry environmental expert Amy Russell, SA’s leading water policy expert Professor Mike Young and Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation information manager Lawrie Stanford are among the guest speakers confirmed for the event.

Some Like It Hot is widely regarded as one of the country’s premium seminars focussed on warm climate irrigated wine regions.

“The timing of the event could not be better. By November we will have a much better idea of where we all stand in relation to water supply,” said Riverland Wine Industry Development Council executive officer Cameron Hills.

“In difficult times it is important for growers to make informed decisions and on that basis alone, no one can afford to miss out on the range of information that will be provided at this seminar.

“The high Australian dollar, drought and water restrictions mean this is a turbulent time for the local industry and it is imperative individuals are armed with high quality information.”

Discussions at the 2008 event will include an industry update, corporate perspective and what is sure to be a heated discussion on climate change.

“Networking is also a big part of this event, which has been lauded as one of the major wine industry events in the State,” Cameron said.

Registrations for the event will open on July 30 with early bid prices starting at just $35. Registrations can be made online here with credit card payment available for the first time.

carbon footprint labelling in the wine industry

What will carbon footprint labelling mean for the Australian wine industry? Will it effect exports when a New Yorker realises that it is “more green” for them to drink wine from Bordeaux, instead of the Margaret River, Barossa or Riverland regions?

Dr Vino (Tyler Colman) has covered this area extensively in his blog about all things wine, with a post from October 30 last year on calculating the cost of the carbon footprint of wine quoting from an American Association of Wine Economists working paper he co-wrote with sustainability metrics specialist Pablo Paster.

Among its other findings, the working paper highlights that it is more green for a wine consumer from Chicago to drink wine from France, than from Napa or New South Wales.

Carbon footprint labelling was discussed at the recent 2008 London International Wine Fair, with international retail giants Tesco and Wal-Mart indicating that including carbon footprint information on wine pacakges is of increasing importance.

Director of Natural Resources for the Winemakers Federation of Australia Amy Russell has consequently said the Australian wine industry could lose market share to its competitors if it doesn’t step up to the environmental challenge.

Ms Russell will be giving advice to winegrape growers and winemakers at the Some Like It Hot conference in the Riverland on November 6. Some Like It Hot is convened by the Riverland Wine Industry Development Council and is the wine industry’s premier conference for warm climate wine regions.

a golf course with no grass

Golf clubs voluntarily ripping up their fairways, new housing developments without gardens, and water police patrolling the streets.

This is Las Vegas 2008 – see Matthew Price’s BBC drought diary here and read more about what other countries are doing to conserve water.

Meanwhile a South Australian Government official says the government has no plans to harvest stormwater. That revelation came on Wednesday afternoon – shortly afterwards a media report stated that the CSIRO’s chief water scientist, Dr Bill Young, had said there was enough water in New South Wales Menindee Lakes to release some to environmental flows. According to Dr Young this would have a “definately postive” impact on the dying lower lakes.

However, premier Mike Rann has stated he would be one day dubbed the most negligent premier in the state if he released storagres from Menindee Lakes for the environment. The water is needed for “critical human needs”.

I continue to wonder, during all these discussions, debates and pleas, if the mouth is left to die won’t the problems slowly travel up the river? A new pipeline has been recently approved to pump water from the River at Tailem Bend to Lower Lakes irrigators – will this pipeline have to continue to be moved up the river?

colorado river report

The BBC’s Matthew Price is currently travelling along the Colorado River and reporting on its health and the views of the people who live near it. The first two diary entries can be found here.

The river has been in drought for eight years and, as mentioned in the report I posted yesterday, is hopelessly overallocated. It is only because the states are not using their full allocations that the river is still running to Mexico, just.

Nevada’s attempts to save water are admirable – the Southern Nevada Water Authority seems to realise that people living in a desert just cannot enjoy a lush green lawn etc. They even pass on the message with a bit of humour. It begs the question – why hasn’t the South Australian Government imposed stricter domestic watering restrictions?

a worldwide problem

The Nile, the Colorado River, the Ganges and the Yellow River – some of the largest rivers in the world are also the most susceptible to mismanagement and over allocation.

 

Irrigation is a historical practice – the Chinese have been irrigating since the third century BC and ancient Roman aqueducts that dot the European landscape are still used today.

 

However, rapid population growth and the need for greater food stocks at a global level has seen some of the world’s largest and most important river systems depleted to shadows of their former selves.

 

Read the full report here.