Up-wa­ter on meet­ing agenda

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Rod­ney Woods

State Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Luke O’Sul­li­van says the basin plan’s up-wa­ter is a hot topic.

The 450 Gl of up-wa­ter that is be­ing de­bated as part of the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan was a stand­out is­sue at an En­vi­ron­ment, Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee meet­ing in Shepparton last month.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber and State Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Luke O’Sul­li­van said the up-wa­ter was a hot topic.

‘‘We had a good chat with lo­cal groups, catch­ment man­age­ment au­thor­i­ties and G-MW and en­vi­ron­ment groups,’’ Mr O’Sul­li­van said.

‘‘The stand­out was the 450 Gl of up-wa­ter and the im­pacts on pro­duc­tion and jobs in the Shepparton district (if the wa­ter is moved from the re­gion).

‘‘It was in­ter­est­ing to hear G-MW say if the wa­ter was moved from the district, it would make the district un­vi­able.’’

Ex­plain­ing what he meant by this af­ter the com­mit­tee met, G-MW’s wa­ter re­sources head Mark Bai­ley said re­mov­ing the wa­ter from the re­gion would change the way his com­pany op­er­ated.

‘‘This is be­cause we draw the ma­jor­ity of our rev­enue from manag­ing wa­ter on be­half of ir­ri­ga­tors,’’ Dr Bai­ley said.

‘‘If there was sub­stan­tially less wa­ter and less ir­ri­ga­tion, G-MW’s busi­ness model would not be sus­tain­able in its cur­rent form.’’

Mr O’Sul­li­van said the rea­son for hold­ing these meet­ings was to get a bet­ter idea of how to man­age en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter.

‘‘As part of this in­quiry, we are talk­ing with a range of groups in north­ern Vic­to­ria to hear from those on the ground to see if there are bet­ter ways for en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter to be man­aged,’’ the Na­tion­als MP said.

‘‘Try­ing to es­tab­lish the right bal­ance — the bal­ance be­tween the en­vi­ron­ment, ir­ri­ga­tors and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties — is im­por­tant or it could have dire con­se­quences,’’ he said.

‘‘The gen­eral feel­ing so far is try­ing to get the bal­ance right to make the sys­tem bet­ter.

‘‘It only needs tin­ker­ings, es­pe­cially around black­wa­ter. We don’t want to see yel­low­belly and cod die be­cause of black­wa­ter events.’’

Much de­bate . . .

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