Evaluation to begin
Basin Authority to visit region
Murray Darling Basin Authority representatives are expected to visit the local area over coming months to consult on a new social and economic study associated with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The SOUTHERN RIVERINA NEWS understands one of the authority’s senior advisors will be in Deniliquin this month, and its chief executive Phillip Glyde will visit in January.
Late last week, however, the authority said no visit details had been finalised.
‘‘The MDBA visits basin communities as part of its business as usual work in implementing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,’’ an authority spokesperson said.
‘‘MDBA staff are planning to visit the Deniliquin region in the coming months. Preparations are underway for those meetings but are not yet confirmed.’’
The authority has said the full range of social, economic and environmental outcomes of the basin plan will be canvassed as part of the scheduled evaluation of the Basin Plan in 2017.
‘‘Five years after the Basin Plan was legislated with bipartisan support it is time to check that we are on track, that we are seeing the outcomes we expected to see, and to assess whether we need to do anything else to achieve the Basin Plan’s aims,’’ Mr Glyde said.
‘‘In 2012 when the Basin Plan was finalised, it was recognised that having less water available for irrigated production would have impacts on some communities.
‘‘Our socio-economic work in the northern basin provided some new and important insights into the effects of water recovery on communities.
‘‘For this reason, I am keen that we undertake similar work in the south to inform the long-planned 2017 evaluation.
‘‘We have already started working with key industries and regions in order to get some local perspectives about what’s happening on the ground in basin communities.’’
Mr Glyde said the 2017 evaluation will also look at the environmental outcomes from the new Basin Plan arrangements, and assess how well environmental water is being planned, used, managed and monitored.
‘‘This is the type of accountability basin communities expect,’’ he said.
Mr Glyde said the evaluation would look at the effectiveness of the on and off-farm infrastructure programs, as well as the impacts of water purchase and reduced water availability for production.
‘‘In recent weeks, there has been much discussion about the effect of the Basin Plan on communities.
‘‘In order to respond to these concerns, the immediate focus for basin governments is to get the best possible outcome from the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism process that is currently underway.
‘‘The adjustment mechanism is about getting equivalent environmental outcomes with less water and less economic impact, by making environmental watering more efficient, improving river management practices, or overcoming some of the physical barriers to delivering water in the system.
‘‘We want to make sure that the Murray– Darling Basin Plan delivers a healthy and productive system for future generations.’’