Wa­ter re­cov­ery plan


Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Ge­off Adams

A Goul­burn Val­ley wa­ter lead­er­ship group has grown tired of wait­ing for gov­ern­ments to act on a key pol­icy devel­op­ment and has come up with its own so­lu­tion.

Yes­ter­day, the Goul­burn Mur­ray Ir­ri­ga­tion Dis­trict Wa­ter Lead­er­ship Group pro­duced a four-point test for wa­ter re­cov­ery un­der the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan.

The fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments in­volved in the Mur­rayDar­ling’s man­age­ment had promised they would es­tab­lish a pol­icy in June, but it has still not been pro­duced.

The group de­vel­oped the test at a work­shop held in Shep­par­ton on Septem­ber 17.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is look­ing at how to re­cover up to 450 Gl more wa­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment with­out caus­ing any neg­a­tive so­cio-eco­nomic im­pact on re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

The lead­er­ship group has de­vel­oped four ques­tions which it says should be ap­plied to all wa­ter re­cov­ery pro­grams:

● Will this re­cover more wa­ter from the con­sump­tive pool?

● Will this in­crease wa­ter prices?

● Will in­di­vid­ual projects col­lec­tively re­sult in di­verse third­party im­pacts on wa­ter users?

● Will in­di­vid­ual projects col­lec­tively re­sult in ad­verse third-party im­pacts?

Lead­er­ship group co-chair Suzanna Sheed said com­mu­ni­ties had been promised no more wa­ter re­cov­ery would oc­cur if it caused more hard­ship, but they were still wait­ing to see the test that had been promised.

‘‘It is dis­ap­point­ing re­gional com­mu­ni­ties such as ours are forced to do the work of gov­ern­ment to demon­strate the harsh re­al­ity on the ground, but we will con­tinue to fight to have our voices heard.’’

She was also an­noyed by the move to start ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est in off-farm wa­ter re­cov­ery projects in Queens­land and South Aus­tralia, with­out the neu­tral­ity test hav­ing been de­vel­oped.

She warned that any test that fo­cused on an out­come for one party, for ex­am­ple, one farmer giv­ing up wa­ter, could have neg­a­tive out­comes for the com­mu­nity.

Ms Sheed said the lead­er­ship group acted to de­velop the tests be­cause of the lack of gov­ern­ment ac­tion on the is­sue.

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