Some historical facts seem to be missing from debate around the Murray Darling Basin Plan, and the impact on irrigation farmers in southern NSW.
Many throwing themselves into this forget the major cause affecting low water allocations here, is the tri-state water sharing agreement.
State governments control the amount of water distributed within their respective states.
We would still be on zero allocations in the Murray Valley even if the environmental protection mechanisms of the Plan were never thought of.
Exacerbated by the fact there will continue to be less water in the system, because farmers in the catchment are improving soil structure and pastures reducing run off, there is less runoff from plantation forests than native ones and an increasing urban population in the catchment.
So, do we throw the Plan out and start again; push for a multi-million dollar Royal Commission, or wait on the outcome of inquiries into the Plan's transparency and outcomes?
The first two options, gaining most media attention, are literally playing with dynamite.
This would give hard-line environmentalists, anti-farming groups and city-based opportunists a platform to promote any amount of irrational agendas.
Most of us understand that the Basin Plan is not perfect, including many unintended consequences not foreseen when the plan was designed.
Angst against Sussan Ley is not helping. She has been working extremely hard to assist troubled farmers and affected businesses, carefully listening to those prepared to share their concerns in a calm and sensible manner.
I certainly can't blame Sussan for not cancelling her schedule to attend the Basin Plan protest at Tocumwal, particularly after the Albury protest in April; booed and heckled, barred from speaking and had the microphone switched off.
Protests are important in the political system and keep this issue front and centre in the political debate.
Angus Macneil AM, Green Park Pastoral Co
POINTS MISSING: DAMS UNDER SCRUTINY
In frustration to the article, "dams under scrutiny", published on Friday 11 October as I feel a few key points are missing.
Firstly, there is no acknowledgement by The Australia Institute or Helen Dalton MP in the article that the private dams built through the on-farm efficiency program are constructed with funding received from the federal government in exchange for water entitlements which are then use for environmental water.
The funding is not just handed out.
The water which has been returned, is then taken off the Basin Plan's water recovery target, meaning less water then has to be sourced through other programs such as buy-back.
This method of water recovery is what irrigators and our community wanted and supported.
I am confident that the lion's share of water efficiency funds provided for our region, have actually been directed to hundreds of family farmers to improve their on-farm systems rather than "the big corporates".
Secondly, the continued insinuation of the Australia Institute that dams are being built to capture water by some at the expense of others is either disingenuous or demonstrates their lack of understanding of the Murrumbidgee Water Sharing Plan.
Water can only be extracted in accordance with the volume of entitlement that landholder has, it is not a free for all where farmers can pump and store as much water as they like.
Those rules apply to everyone, whether it be family farmers, corporates or environmental users.
There are no new water licences. If a higher volume of water is being taken by one farmer, it has been bought from another who doesn't take it anymore.
Overall extraction from the river is not increasing... It is actually decreasing.
Finally, to compare government funding for private storages versus storages for public use is like comparing apples and oranges.
The largest private storages would hold a few thousand megalitres. Storages to supply towns, stock and other farmers need to hold thousands of gigalitres.
Look at the size of Burrinjuck and Blowering dams.
While I agree with calls for more support for farmers, businesses and towns doing it tough, we shouldn't be scapegoating an unrelated farm efficiency program and misrepresenting the facts to advocate for this.
Liz Stott, Whitton
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