DROUGHT IS PART OF HISTORY
From the Murray Darling Basin on farm project criteria meeting in Griffith in November 2018.
"The Australian government of Agriculture and Water Resources is asking irrigators to have a say on how government can best invest in on farm water efficiency project across the basin."
"The on-farm water recovery project are not eligible in New South Wales and Victoria until additional program criteria are agreed to, public meetings were held across 14 towns to seek community views on potential additional assessment criteria for projects funded under the Murray Darling Water infrastructure program.
"The government would like to know on how they can increase on farm efficiency and return water savings to the environment while having a natural or beneficial impact on industries and communities."
July is when the Murray Darling Basin Authority release the environmental water flow to restore the banks of the rivers, while our irrigators are facing zero per cent allocation on July 1 2019 irrigation season.
On June 18 a meeting was held about the NSW Government Water Resource Plans in regard to the Murrumbidgee water sharing plan, irrigators were asked to make a submission on the water sharing plan.
The state government agreed to implement the Pre-requisite Policy Measures in the Murrumbidgee under the intergovernmental agreement on implementing water reform in the Murray Darling Basin 2013.
"Implementing PPMs is critical to achieving the environmental outcome of the basin plan with the 2,750 gigalitres a year of water identified for recovery."
So much was said at the meeting it was very hard to understand, we had the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage who could not answer farmers' questions.
High security irrigators gave five per cent of their allocation and general security gave 15 per cent allocation for the environment and no credit has been given to the irrigators.
NSW Government has to implement the Murray Darling Basin Plan, remember it was Malcom Turnbull the Minister for the Environment who came up with the plan to take the most valuable asset, water, away from the states and did not know anything about irrigation.
The environment survived before our dams were built and our area became the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and drought is part of history when the Murrumbidgee River nearly dried up.
Fran Pietroboni, Griffith
TOO MANY LOSERS IN PLAN
In the first week of July, the Millewa Forest's largest regulator, called the Mary Ada, was opened to provide the forest with more 'targeted waterings'.
The forest will get yet another drink, this time using environmental water because, unlike last summer, authorities do not have irrigator water to waste like they did last year.
In the 2018-19 season the forest flooding lasted 141 days, and during this period the amount of water that exceeded channel capacity totalled 802,000 megalitres.
This was not allocated environmental water, but rather water that was taken from irrigators and unnecessarily and unseasonally flooded into the forest.
In doing so, authorities ignored the MDBA's 'objectives and outcomes' document regarding "delivering within constraints" and "not impacting state water allocations", under which the MDBA is supposed to operate the river.
As a further consequence this decimated the Murray Valley's chance of an allocation, increased the price of temporary water beyond the reach of many businesses, and eliminated the chance of carryover water being available.
The reality which too many in government and bureaucratic positions refuse to acknowledge is that there are many losers from this Basin Plan, including the environment which ironically is being damaged with out of season environmental water.
Darcy Hare, Murray Regional Strategy Group
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