Australia's states may disagree about aspects of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but its local councils are willing to work together to salvage it, Murray Bridge's mayor says.
Brenton Lewis joined more than 50 local government representatives from around Australia at a Murray-Darling Association (MDA) meeting in Moama, New South Wales earlier this month.
Coorong Councillor Vern Leng and Murray Bridge infrastructure and assets director Heather Barclay also attended the three-day gathering.
Mr Lewis said one of the ideas that had emerged was that more big-picture planning and more innovation was needed to ensure Australia used a sustainable amount of water in the face of climate change and population growth.
The challenge for the nation, he said, would be addressing those challenges while making sure there was still enough water for human needs and food production.
But he said the record attendence at the meeting, and the mature tone of the discussions held there, had shown local governments were willing to come to the table to find solutions.
"The issues which unite us are greater than those that might divide us," he said.
"We seriously need to work together to ensure full and proper implementation of the basin plan."
Cr Leng agreed.
“We need to support the socio-economic stability of communities across the Murray Darling system," he said.
"Without an adequate water supply for human consumption and industry, the economies of these areas will dwindle and blow away in the wind.
"Sustainable and equitable water management is a non-negotiable."
As a means to those ends, MDA chief executive officer Emma Bradbury said councils had re-committed to the basin plan.
"While the plan is not perfect, it will unite and provide leadership to ensure a healthy, viable Murray-Darling Basin for this and future generations," she said.
Councils also talked about the need for better engagement with their communities, involvement in water-saving projects and increased resources for local government.