The receding waters of Lake Pamamaroo which makes up part of the Menindee Lakes system (Image: AAP/Dean Lewins)

Here we go. The Productivity Commission has just ripped the lid off a nasty can of worms by opening a new inquiry into water reform.

Water is one of the most vitriolic and dangerous policy areas in this bone-dry yet also flood-prone country. And the inquiry, which commenced with an issues paper released last week, will look at the 2004 National Water Initiative -- the overarching water agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories (except WA and Tasmania, which share very few rivers with the rest of us). It covers rural and urban water, offering up ample areas for disagreement.

The review’s timing is auspicious, coming at a time when the eastern seaboard is verdant. After an enormous drought over the last three years, eastern Australia has taken a soaking in 2020. The next two maps depict the long-lasting drought and the recent rains.