The Food and Water for Life project is working to provide sustainable long term food security to Walgett. Our community is challenged from losing river foods
due to bad water management in the Northern Murray Darling Basin. We learnt a lot when the only supermarket in town burnt down in June 2019, about how vulnerable our local food is and how food supply systems contribute to this vulnerability. DEG and WAMS moved quickly to provide food relief and to encourage IGA to build again in Walgett. This experience meant we could move quickly during the Covid pandemic to work with the local IGA, donors, local council, WAMS and others to ensure that people isolating, close contacts and those struggling due to the impacts of COVID, particularly during the long lockdown, had access to food and water supplies.
In March 2022, with our colleagues from the George Institute for Global Health, we surveyed Walgett community members about their experiences of food and water security. The results of these surveys are still to be published, but key findings were published in February 2023 and are shocking. In the Food and Water for Life Project we are working to understand what planning Walgett needs to do to prepare for the future food security shocks that will surely come, now that the Climate Emergency deepens, and we are still suffering from the loss of river foods. In this work we are also examining the current official emergency responses which we find inadequate so that we can recommend law reform. DEG and WAMS have made many constructive submissions to the NSW parliament and the Commonwealth parliament, and the UN Food Summit of 2021 that share our learnings.