“The amendment to the Sustainable Diversion Limit is a crucial component of the plan as it benefits the environment while avoiding the damaging impact of water recovery. It’s the only true triple bottom line aspect of the plan and we applaud the return to bipartisanship on the delivery of the Basin Plan” RGA President Jeremy Morton said.
The projects that offset water recovery will be rolled out through to 2024 and are subject to a reconciliation process to ensure they deliver the environmental outcomes envisaged.
“A shortfall in the reconciliation process will see a return to water recovery and RGA encourages all stakeholders to get behind these projects to ensure the environmental outcomes are maximised. We cannot afford for these projects to not deliver,” Mr Morton said.
The bipartisan agreement also addresses the recovery of up to 450GL through efficiency measures with an announcement of expressions of interest to begin the process.
“The recovery of water through efficiency measures must meet a requirement for social and economic neutrality, the RGA does not accept the Basin Plan definition. The RGA also encourages the broadest possible approach to water recovery through efficiency measures, with recovery from the irrigator held entitlement pool to be the option of last resort.” Mr. Morton said.
The agreement ends with a reaffirmation of the 80,000ML per day flow target at the South Australian border.
“These flow targets are highly aspirational and the RGA is extremely doubtful that constraints can be relaxed sufficiently to allow for such flows. The RGA urges all parties to broaden their thinking and consider how water can be delivered to the floodplain in a much more efficient way while minimising the risk that comes from engineering major flood level flows” Mr Morton concluded.