PM con­tacts SRI

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull has been made aware of the re­gion’s need for wa­ter fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions on Fri­day with South­ern Rive­rina Ir­ri­ga­tors chair Gabrielle Cou­p­land.

‘‘I made him aware of the unique po­si­tion we are in here, where we have in­vested in crops in the ground and we have two pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios. With wa­ter, we fin­ish crops for grain, bulk them out for hay or grow pas­tures, all of which can ease the pres­sure of the drought,’’ Mrs Cou­p­land said.

‘‘With­out wa­ter, we can watch those crops fail and we be­come part of the drought prob­lem.

‘‘He heard us and he un­der­stands that the best thing he can do is iden­tify a par­cel of wa­ter for ir­ri­ga­tors.

‘‘SRI un­der­stands the wa­ter held in the dams cur­rently is the prop­erty of other ju­ris­dic­tions, or­gan­i­sa­tions or in­di­vid­u­als. We do not in any way want to de­mand the prop­erty of oth­ers, that’s tan­ta­mount to de­mand­ing the hay out of some­one else’s shed.

‘‘Our sug­ges­tion is for (the) Prime Min­is­ter to bring all lev­els of gov­ern­ment and rel­e­vant wa­ter man­agers to­gether so we can work to­gether to get through what is pre­dicted to be a very dry sea­son.

‘‘We are ask­ing all in­volved to con­sider how we can be part of the so­lu­tion for the east coast. How we can work to­gether to find a so­lu­tion through any means, be it beg, bor­row or buy.

‘‘And it will re­quire lead­er­ship. We need all Basin states on board and will­ing to help be­cause some of the wa­ter in the dams be­longs to the states. The dis­cus­sions need to be re­spect­ful and col­lab­o­ra­tive. There are ways it can work, but it won’t work if we don’t get that high-level co-op­er­a­tion.’’

Mrs Cou­p­land said SRI had been work­ing with en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter hold­ers, river op­er­a­tors, gov­ern­ments and Mur­ray Ir­ri­ga­tion for over a month to find a par­cel of wa­ter for this re­gion to ac­cess im­me­di­ately, but added ‘‘there are no sil­ver bul­lets in a sea­son as chal­leng­ing as this’’.

‘‘When the Prime Min­is­ter calls, you know the mes­sage is get­ting to the places where a dif­fer­ence can be made. We won’t stop. There are still crops, pas­tures and stock that can ben­e­fit from wa­ter in the next cou­ple of weeks. Time­li­ness is crit­i­cal and we will keep the pres­sure on to search for a so­lu­tion.’’

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