Where has the water gone?
Today’s dismal water allocation announcements have left Growers scratching their heads and wondering ‘Where has the water gone?’
The NSW Government this morning announced allocations of just 1% and 2% for the NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee.
This is despite Hume and Dartmouth Dams having collectively increased in volume by 190 gigalitres between 15 and 31 July. Yet the NSW Murray total resource improvement for this period was just 30 gigalitres. This is just 16% of the total inflows into the two major storages.
Similarly, Burrinjuck and Blowering Dams have collectively increased by 100 gigalitres between 15 and 31 July, yet today’s statement says that the Murrumbidgee resource improvement was just 35 gigalitres, or 35% of the total inflows.
“This is another example of why growers are incredibly frustrated that the NSW Government continues to ignore our requests for significant improvements to both the allocation system and the information provided to the public”
The fact that downstream tributary inflows have been used to meet the vast majority of water orders and river requirements over the past two weeks is another reason why Growers should have received a much greater announcement.
The RGA is also incredibly frustrated that a clear decision has not yet been made to delay the payback trigger for the Barmah Millewa EWA Borrow from 30% to 50%.
If the next three months turn wet as predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology, and allocations improve significantly, Growers need a clear understanding of whether the payback trigger for the Barmah Millewa EWA Borrow of 296 gigalitres will commence at 30% or 50% allocation.
The RGA is incredibly frustrated that a clear decision has not yet been made. The RGA has lobbied government for a number of months now to change the trigger as we believe that the threshold for ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ has been met.
Growers must be provided with clear information so they can make decisions about what to water, what crops to grow and whether to participate in the water market.
This information should be transparent. It shouldn’t be so confusing. Growers need answers from the NSW Government now so they can progress with their irrigation businesses, which underpin the communities in our region.
The RGA again calls on the NSW Government to work with us to improve the allocation system and the information provided to the public.
President, Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia