Eval­u­a­tion to be­gin

Basin Au­thor­ity to visit re­gion

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

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.’’

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