Predictions by eminent historian Geoffrey Blainey that in the next 50 years `there will be gigantic water schemes far from the capital cities' should not go unheeded, according to Water Resources Minister Ernie Bridge.
Mr Bridge was commenting on an article by Professor Blainey entitled `The Thirsty Country' (ABM June, 1992), which predicted that water supplies would rise high on the national agenda in the next 50 years because of renewed interest in primary production and population growth.
"Professor Blainey is right to say it is unrealistic to expect that our North will continue to lie undeveloped," Mr Bridge said.
"His view that effective storage and use of water in the North will eventually become a high national priority is in tune with the Kimberley Pipeline project.
"The pipeline feasibility study is the only project in the nation which is seriously addressing the picture Professor Blainey has painted for Australia in the next century."
Mr Bridge said the pipeline project would begin to harness the vast water resources of the North in preparation for the economic and social development which would inevitably come.
"Given that the Kimberley pipeline would alleviate the need for dams on remaining South West rivers to supply Perth, I cannot agree, however, with Professor Blainey's view that the pipeline project is decades ahead of its time," he said.
"As he recognises, we are part of Asia, and in time, Australia will match Asia's development with water projects playing a major role in that achievement."