RIT has been awarded Gold Certification against the International Water Stewardship Standard by the Alliance for Water Stewardship – a world first for an irrigation trust.
The award was presented to the silent achiever at a celebration lunch on 12 April where congratulations were delivered in person by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston and others, and accolades were sent via video from around the globe.
The Millennium Drought, from 2001 to 2009, devastated communities, industries and the environment, which all rely on a healthy River Murray to prosper. As an agricultural region, the entire Riverland suffered profoundly during the drought. Some people survived as best they could, others lost their livelihood and some had no option but to leave.
In this time of unprecedented adversity, RIT, under the leadership of Peter Duggin, saw an opportunity to do something positive and focus on the most responsible use of our most valuable resource by aiming to achieve the International Water Stewardship Standard. The standard requires integrated water management to achieve four main outcomes:
- Sustainable water balance
- Good water quality
- Healthy water-dependent ecosystems and cultural sites
- Good water governance
At the same time, other parts of the community rallied around those in need through initiatives like the suicide prevention program to provide support for people suffering with mental health issues and the exit packages campaign to help struggling farmers. We worked together to help each other.
Roll forward to 2018 and things are looking up. Primary production is up, exports are increasing and regional asset values are improving. RIT has quite rightly been acknowledged for an outstanding international achievement and we, as the Riverland community, should take pride in our resilience, our resourcefulness and our leadership.