Water is such a keystone issue to the long-term prosperity of our area that any waiting game played by bureaucrats will eventually have adverse effects on the livelihoods of us all.
The failure by governments to deliver a workable water policy is a lamentable stagnation that needs a lifeline of energy, ideas and commitment to move the situation forward for the betterment of us all.
As seems to be so often the case these days, this energy and commitment is coming from people outside government — from the people it directly affects.
As State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has said, it is indeed disappointing that regional communities are now forced to do the work of the government.
So the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Group has grown tired of waiting for the government to act, and has come up with its own four-point test for water recovery under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
We must applaud this much-needed spark to re-energise the whole process of water recovery.
The matter seems to be too much of a political hot potato for governments to handle — but it cannot be left to languish in the too-hard basket.
Water is the lifeblood of our farms, our businesses, our families and our future.
The questions raised by the water leadership group go to the heart of the matter and could at least be used as a template for any future policy discussion on how to distribute this valuable resource.
While bureaucrats are already asking for expressions of interest in off-farm water recovery projects in Queensland and South Australia, here in the Goulburn Valley we at least will have some measure of how water recovery might affect stakeholders.
The only questions to ask now are — who will apply the tests, and when will the government sit up, take notice and support our local leaders?