Bruce Dif­fey talks wa­ter

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE - By BRUCE DIF­FEY

AS we close on a year of be­low- av­er­age rain­fall and tem­po­rary wa­ter in ex­cess of $240 per me­gal­itre (ML) plus on farm de­liv­ery charges, ev­ery farmer should spend time to an­a­lyse the re­turn on money in­vested in wa­ter.

With dairy prices re­duced, farm­ers need to try and have more control on the in­puts, for ex­am­ple weigh­ing up Goul­burn Mur­ray Ir­ri­ga­tion Dis­trict (GMID) wa­ter ver­sus bore wa­ter if avail­able ver­sus di­rect di­verter from rivers, or dam con­struc­tion and win­ter­fill.

In May this year I was in­volved with the trans­fer of 110ML for a win­ter­fill dam.

The site was moved down stream but the de­lay on con­struc­tion ap­proval jeop­ar­dised the com­ple­tion.

The North East Catch­ment Man­age­ment Author­ity was slow to ap­prove the amended site move and did not pri­ori­tise the new amended site.

It is a con­cern that there are lim­ited times for con­struc­tion of dams and if de­lays oc­cur with the likes of Goul­burn Mur­ray Wa­ter (GMW), the lo­cal shire, or catch­ment man­age­ment author­ity, a full year may be lost.

The process is lengthy and needs to be stream­lined, for the works are dic­tated by sea­sonal con­di­tions, not by leg­is­la­tion for re­sponse times.

Slowly, con­fi­dence is re­turn­ing to the North East of Vic­to­ria with ap­prox­i­mately six ir­ri­ga­tion dams set to be con­structed in sum­mer 2016-17.

The use for ir­ri­ga­tion is for fat lamb, hazel­nuts, wal­nuts, and lucerne.

I have writ­ten about car­ry­over and spill rules for Vic­to­ria.

The over- gen­er­ous car­ry­over is lead­ing to more and more for­ward wa­ter be­ing de­liv­ered up to Au­gust 2016.

Be­cause this wa­ter is signed at more than $250 for NSW and Vic­to­ria, it cre­ates a floor price for the Au­gust 2016 tem­po­rary mar­ket.

Even with av­er­age rain­fall for win­ter, very low al­lo­ca­tion for gen­eral se­cu­rity in the NSW Mur­ray and GMID for July/ Au­gust will be is­sued, bring­ing me back to the is­sue of in­puts and choices.

Bore con­struc­tion for deep lead wa­ter is ex­pen­sive, but more and more I am see­ing peo­ple make the com­mit­ment as the cap­i­tal costs spread over five years and are off­set by no de­liv­ery charges and control of when you ir­ri­gate, of­ten with no re­duc­tion or al­lo­ca­tion re­stric­tions to you.

The key is the qual­ity and risk of find­ing quan­tity.

Bet­ter in­for­ma­tion is be­com­ing avail­able from GMW hy­drol­ogy and the Of­fice of Wa­ter NSW.

Farm­ers need to do re­search on the re­turn on cap­i­tal in­vested and make a de­ci­sion on how to se­cure wa­ter for their busi­ness.

Syn­di­cated river di­ver­sions are another op­tion that may be avail­able.

Do not give up or com­plain about the price of wa­ter.

Be pos­i­tive and spend time on your op­tions.

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