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The Water Dreamers, the Remarkable Story of Our Dry Continent

by: Michael Cathcart
published by: Text Publishing

In his latest book, Michael Cathcart records the place of water in Australia’s history.
Water was critical to its colonisation by Europeans. Early settlements were built around it, though these precious supplies were often squandered or polluted. Any water the Europeans used was taken from the Aboriginal people, to their great detriment.

Though few explorers other than Sturt sought out an inland sea, many sought great rivers and the pastures they would nurture. Usually they ended up walking away, disappointed. To reverse this defeat, the new Australians turned to engineering as a solution. The Great Artesian Basin was tapped; rivers were dammed to irrigate the surrounding lands, water was piped to remote desert towns.

Though these marvels of engineering were successful in the short term, they failed to change the character of the land. Only now, as the short term successes are overshadowed by long term costs, are Australians realising the value of water and the limits of its use on one of the driest continents on Earth.

RRP: $34.95

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