I write in response to your editorial “Time to get on with new dams” (12/8). While properly sited dams have their role, much more water can be stored in healthy soil containing adequate levels of carbon. Essential carbon can be sequestered into soil by informed farmers who integrate the management of their plants, soil, water and, where appropriate, their animals. In cities, we can ensure urban planners design ways to catch and safely reuse every drop of rain.

As the Commonwealth national Advocate for Soil Health, I recommend that water be seen as a key national strategic asset. Working together, federal cabinet and the states can maximise the capture and use of our precious water asset for drinking, agricultural and environmental purposes. Our soils are depleted and need regeneration. With leadership and all of us working to an agreed and simple plan we can restore the health of our soils and ensure optimal use of each drop of water where it falls.

Michael Jeffery, National Soil Advocate (published 14.08.2019)