Car­ry­over lim­its wa­ter al­lo­ca­tions

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK -

The lat­est al­lo­ca­tion an­nounce­ments in the Mur­ray and Mur­rumbidgee Val­leys high­light the need for more clar­ity re­gard­ing car­ry­over pro­vi­sions, ac­cord­ing to ir­ri­ga­tion stake­hold­ers.

Last week’s an­nounce­ment in­cluded an 11 per cent gen­eral se­cu­rity in­crease in the NSW Mur­ray to 53 per cent, while Mur­rumbidgee re­ceived no in­crease and re­mains on 61 per cent.

Con­sid­er­ing both val­leys are ma­jor food and fi­bre pro­duc­tion dis­tricts for the state, con­cerns have been raised at why al­lo­ca­tions re­main at these lev­els when we have ma­jor dams in each re­gion spilling or near ca­pac­ity.

The man­ner in which the NSW Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries – Wa­ter present their an­nounce­ment is un­der crit­i­cism from both val­leys, with the depart­ment claim­ing in both val­leys the al­lo­ca­tion is 80 per cent due to ‘av­er­age’ car­ry­over, which it says is 27 per cent in the Mur­ray and 19 per cent in Mur­rumbidgee.

Chair of the Mur­ray Val­ley’s Deni­boota Land­hold­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Alas­tair Star­ritt, echoed the views of most land­hold­ers when he said he was frus­trated that car­ry­over is re­ported in this way as any­one could be car­ry­ing over wa­ter, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment, en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter, sup- er­an­nu­a­tion com­pa­nies and other spec­u­la­tors.

‘‘Mak­ing an­nounce­ments like this is de­ceiv­ing the gen­eral pub­lic,’’ Mr Star­ritt said.

‘‘Most food pro­duc­ers in the Mur­ray Val­ley do not have ac­cess to 80 per cent of their en­ti­tle­ments.

‘‘We need to as­sess how much of that gen­eral se­cu­rity is ac­tu­ally owned by farm­ers and will go to­wards grow­ing food and fi­bre, which cre­ates jobs and wealth for our com­mu­ni­ties and na­tion.’’

Mur­rumbidgee Val­ley Food and Fi­bre As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Deb­bie Buller agreed with Mr Star­ritt’s com­ments.

‘‘Cur­rently the Mur­rumbidgee has full dams and wa­ter logged coun­try­side, yet our al­lo­ca­tion did not in­crease be­cause of rules sur­round­ing car­ry­over,’’ she said.

‘‘Most of our farm­ers are still on 61 per cent, not 80 per cent, de­spite what DPI Wa­ter tries to tell ev­ery­one. We need al­lo­ca­tions that pro­vide a higher level of se­cu­rity for our com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘What we are see­ing at the mo­ment is that no one can use their wa­ter ei­ther in al­lo­ca­tion or car­ry­over as ev­ery­thing is so wet.

‘‘This means that new al­lo­ca­tions can­not grow as dam space is prac­ti­cally at ca­pac­ity in both Val­leys.’’

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