• Fish traps being impacted by drought. (The Point)Source: The Point
From a traditional perspective, water was quite literally viewed as a lifeblood – and in drought, replenishing downstream flows are in short supply.
NITV Staff Writer

The Point
2 Oct 2018 - 10:09 AM  UPDATED 2 Oct 2018 - 10:30 AM

Nestled in a long and mostly dry looking elbow of NSW's Barwon River, the fish traps at Brewarrina were once a great gathering site for Indigenous people.

Fish were herded into an elaborate network of stone walls through small openings that would be quickly closed with a few rocks.

Described as “one of the oldest man-made structures on earth” the traps have lasted through high and fast water flows and the encroachment of European settlement.

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But with water levels receding in drought, some locals fear losing touch with traditional culture.

“Our old people used to teach us the river is our blood,” said Ngemba tour guide Bradley Hardy.

“We lose our blood, what happens?  We die. We lose our river, what happens? We die.”

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Ninety-nine per cent of NSW has been declared to be in drought with 12.5 per cent of the state intensely affected.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Mr Hardy told NITV News.

“It’s shattering, 'cause not only for us as people, when we look at our animals and they’re all suffering, imagine us if we didn’t have any water, you know, it terrible.”

The traps are under the protection of the World Conservation Union but that may be of little consolation.

“So not only are we losing out now but we could be losing out in the future, young kids won’t know about their river if there’s no water in it,” Mr Hardy said.

“They won’t know about the river being a true reflection of the community.”

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