Cus­tomers, en­vi­ron­ment ben­e­fit

The Tatura Guardian - - News -

Lower costs for ground­wa­ter cus­tomers and on-go­ing salin­ity man­age­ment sup­port will be just two of the ben­e­fits to flow from changes to how ground­wa­ter in the Shep­par­ton Ir­ri­ga­tion Re­gion Ground­wa­ter Man­age­ment Area is man­aged.

Goul­burn-Mur­ray Wa­ter ground­wa­ter and streams man­ager Si­mon Cowan said the new SIRGMA Lo­cal Man­age­ment Plan had been de­vel­oped af­ter ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with key stake­hold­ers and ground­wa­ter users.

‘‘Dur­ing this con­sul­ta­tion, the com­mu­nity, landown­ers and agen­cies iden­ti­fied the pre­vi­ous ap­proach to ground­wa­ter man­age­ment had be­come in­flex­i­ble, com­pli­cated and ex­pen­sive and that a sim­pler, adap­tive, and lower cost man­age­ment was needed,’’ he said.

‘‘The new plan aims to strike the right bal­ance be­tween en­cour­ag­ing ground­wa­ter use as a salin­ity con­trol mea­sure, and pro­tect­ing ex­ist­ing users and the en­vi­ron­ment from new ground­wa­ter de­vel­op­ments.’’

Mr Cowan said the plan would achieve this through the in­tro­duc­tion of a num­ber of rules gov­ern­ing how ground­wa­ter was used and li­censed. These rules in­clude:

A sim­pler ap­proach to as­sess­ing risk at the ini­tial li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion stage.

G-MW main­tain­ing a sub­set of me­ters to es­ti­mate ground­wa­ter use; this means cus­tomer me­ter read­ing, main­te­nance and re­place­ment will no longer be nec­es­sary,

A new process to man­age po­ten­tial bore in­ter­fer­ence.

Sup­port for ground­wa­ter users to pro­vide an an­nual ground­wa­ter sam­ple. G-MW will then an­a­lyse the sam­ple for salin­ity and pro­vide test re­sults to the li­cence holder.

An an­nual cus­tomer news­let­ter with the most re­cent wa­ter ta­ble map, ground­wa­ter use es­ti­mates, in­for­ma­tion on salin­ity risks and the need for a plan re­view; and

Op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­volve­ment in con­sul­ta­tion on changes to the plan.

Mr Cowan said the new man­age­ment plan was a win for cus­tomers and the en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘This ap­proach will lower costs for cus­tomers, en­cour­age li­cence and bore re­ten­tion to mit­i­gate salin­ity risks from ris­ing shal­low ground­wa­ter, and pro­tect ex­ist­ing ground­wa­ter users and the en­vi­ron­ment,’’ he said.

A copy of the plan is avail­able at www.g-mwater.com.au

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