Dr. Siwan Lovett on the ‘Forgotten River’ — ABC Radio Canberra Afternoons Interview
By Chris Walsh
The Upper Murrumbidgee River is in trouble. You may have heard about our Forgotten River campaign, raising awareness about our Upper Murrumbidgee river. Currently, Tantangara Dam captures more than 90% of the water at the headwaters of the Murrumbidgee River each year, and as much as 99% in dry years. This has led to the condition of the river and its ecosystem degrading over years, leading up to 2019 when the river ran dry (see below) leading to serious ecological consequences.
In November 2023, ARRC Managing Director Dr. Siwan Lovett was invited on ABC Radio Canberra Afternoons and interviewed by Hinako Shiraishi about The Forgotten River and what it means for Canberrans. Take a listen via the link below. Note that the interview with Siwan starts at 19 minutes and 10 seconds.
We are collecting community input about what a healthy river means to the people of this region, and what needs to be considered in the future management of this river. We would love to hear from you, and ask you kindly to please complete a short (8 to 10 min) anonymous survey. Please also share the survey link with your networks if possible.
Data from this survey will be provided to ACT, NSW and Commonwealth governments to inform future water management. Thank you for your support.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help support our Forgotten River. Your money will go toward the following actions:
Furthering the research into the issues facing the Upper Murrumbidgee River and how we can fix them
Raising awareness among organisational stakeholders, government agencies, First Nations Peoples, various community groups and agency networks to discuss these issues and propose ways forward
Making submissions and engaging politicians to influence changes in policy surrounding water management
Ongoing awareness-raising and education through the Forgotten River website and other channels for the general public
Our guest for this episode is Andy Lowes, author of the Letter from the Murrumbidgee River to Canberrans. Andy is Canberra born and bred, growing up swimming, fishing and walking by the Murrumbidgee. His lifelong interest in rivers has also seen him work at the Commonwealth level on the management of rivers in the broader Murray-Darling Basin.
Writing this letter from the voice of the Murrumbidgee River was an effort to raise awareness of an incredibly unusual time for the Canberra community and the Murrumbidgee River, from the devastating impacts of the drought and bushfires during the Summer of 2019 and 2020 to the COVID-19 pandemic that has transformed the way we interact with others. In this episode, we discuss how the letter helps explain the changes the river has seen in its ecology and the way people interact with it, and reinforces the need for immersing ourselves in nature.