Wa­ter users call for a mora­to­rium

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News - Tari Jef­fers

A pe­ti­tion con­cern­ing is­sues faced by lo­cal self-supply ir­ri­ga­tors will be pre­sented to WA Par­lia­ment in the com­ing weeks after it was pre­sented to the op­po­si­tion Wa­ter Min­is­ter from a group of con­cerned wa­ter users last week.

As part of lo­cal farm­ers’ on­go­ing ef­forts to ad­dress and re­verse wa­ter li­cence al­lo­ca­tion re­stric­tions, a group met with op­po­si­tion Wa­ter Min­is­ter Dr David Honey and South West MLC Dr Steve Thomas in Man­jimup on Thurs­day.

The 338-sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion re­quests a mora­to­rium is put on the pro­posed South­ern Forests Ir­ri­ga­tion Scheme un­til Depart­ment of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion re­search and data has been in­de­pen­dently scru­ti­wa­ter nised, land­hold­ers con­sulted and there is an in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment into the eco­nomic im­pact that the scheme will have on farm­ers from the af­fected Don­nelly River sub-catch­ments.

West Man­jimup potato and beef cat­tle grower An­drew Tem­pra said he felt Thurs­day’s meet­ing went well and Dr Honey and Dr Thomas un­der­stood where the con­cerned grow­ers were com­ing from.

“I hope they see the con­cerns of ex­ist­ing self-supply wa­ter users and see the neg­a­tive im­pacts pro­posed li­cens­ing is­sues like the fees and charges would have,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to Thurs­day’s meet­ing and a meet­ing with Depart­ment of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Bun­bury last month, Mr Tem­pra said self-supply users would con­tinue fight­ing for their wa­ter rights.

“We will be fol­low­ing up with the Man­jimup Shire Coun­cil, wait to see how the pe­ti­tion goes and we’re also wait­ing to see how the DWER re­search pans out,” he said. Mr Tem­pra added it was soon head­ing into the dry sea­son and wa­ter would be valu­able.

Dr Thomas said he was look­ing for a way to have the scheme project con­tinue while those not di­rectly in­volved would not be neg­a­tively af­fected.

“I don’t like that we’re be­ing put at war with each other in the Man­jimup area,” he said. “Based on their data, if DWER say there’s no wa­ter avail­able, I’m of the opin­ion it needs to be looked at by an in­de­pen­dent body. But I want to give the Depart­ment a chance to be sci­en­tific be­fore we go down that path.”

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