THE shock closure of one of Griffith’s biggest irrigation equipment suppliers has come at the worst possible time for local irrigators.
Over the past 18 months, the threat of water being taken from the region under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has forced anxious farmers to think about ways to make their operations more water efficient.
Many have turned to local irrigation businesses for advice as well as supplies.
But this week one of those businesses, Water Dynamics, closed its doors for the last time.
A spokesman for the Tyco group, which owns Water Dynamics, said the decision had been made to close the store as a result of “long-term pressure from a range of challenging market circumstances”.
Warrawidgee irrigator Hayden Cudmore was shocked to hear the company had shut up shop but understood hard times could take their toll.
“Water Dynamics is an important business for us irrigators, particularly with the need for additional water savings on the horizon,” Mr Cudmore said.
“It probably hasn’t been easy for them with the uncertainty in the area about the basin plan and commodity prices being down, not to mention the 10-year drought we’ve all been through.
“When farmers suffer, the businesses that support them suffer too.”
Despite concern about the absence of Water Dynamics in the city, the Tyco group has assured customers the impact of the closure will be minimal and the company will continue to meet its contractual obligations.
But, in addition to the drawbacks for irrigators and local tradespeople, five staff members have been made redundant.
Griffith Business Chamber vice president Paul Snaidero said the loss of any business in the city was a concern, particularly when it cost people their jobs.
He believed a growth period for companies like Water Dynamics was just beginning.
“Irrigators are at a point where they are being asked to do the same thing they have always done but with less water,” Mr Snaidero said.
“That brings opportunities for a business like Water Dynamics to thrive in a good market.
“In light of the basin plan, we need these people in town to make available the latest technology so we can work more efficiently. It looks like Griffith is losing out again.”
The Tyco group has also closed the Water Dynamics store in Dubbo and another in Western Australia.