Monday, 14 January 2008
Saturday was a glorious day and I took a few moments in my favourite late afternoon/early evening time to take some photographs. I wondered as I photographed the current lushness of the land if this is how it would have looked in the 1860s and 1870s. Not the open paddocks of course, but the growth and green and the water reflecting the skies.
I know the early settlers very quickly learnt to dam the gullies to store water. Now, almost every gully is pockmarked with strings of dams. The higher your land, the earlier and more you can claim the run-off. It’s all about location. A previous neighbour used to complain about people higher up the hill unfairly enlarging their dam and taking an unfair share of the water. An acquaintance in Stanthorpe told me how one day she mentioned to her neighbours how much she appreciated their recent work contouring their land as her precious rose garden was well watered. The next day, the neighbours were out with their earthmoving equipment remedying the oversight. As a former orchardist, she should have known to keep quiet. When Stanthorpe Shire Council (soon to be protestingly merged with Warwick) started talking about restricting landowner’s rights to put dams wherever they wanted in order to ensure adequate runoff to the town water supply dam, there was nearly uprising in the district. The notion of water as a national resource is a difficult topic.
We personally are not too concerned about runoff as long as our driveway doesn’t wash out. The neighbours are welcome to whatever runs onto their land. In fact, with at least one child far from the age of reason our full dam concerns me more than it pleases me. But I can’t imagine that anyone in this area is skirmishing about water right now. There is more than enough to go around and the grass and mosquitoes to prove it.