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Dry Inflow Contingency Planning ‘pragmatic’ says NFF

20 June 2007

DESPITE improved rainfall over recent weeks, inflows into the Murray-Darling system continue to be at record lows with farmers facing severely depleted storage levels across the entire Murray-Darling Basin.

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is encouraged by the outlook for some improved water availability in the Murray system, however, the situation remains acute ‘on the ground’.

“The ‘Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Report for May 2007’ is a pragmatic report and the NFF is pleased to see that it reflects key concerns raised by the sector,” NFF Water Taskforce Chair Laurie Arthur said.

“The accurate and timely dissemination of information on water availability is essential for irrigators and farmers to make informed business decisions. The NFF is, therefore, pleased to see the Report unequivocally state:

Recommendation Four: AGREE that information be provided by state water authorities to key irrigation and industry bodies about water availability in streams and channels in the southern Basin system as frequently as possible so that irrigators and other industries can make key management decisions.

“Further, as we sought from Government, the NFF supports the Report’s proposal that a reactivation of the water market will occur when water is again placed into irrigation accounts.

“The NFF does, however, have a serious concern with the recommendation on stock and domestic water use. The Report suggests that farmers reliant on irrigation channels may be required to undertake alternative measures to access their water, such as carting water.

“This will significantly impact on sectors, such as dairy, where currently the option of carting water is unviable due to the prohibitive costs involved and the absence of a truck fleet anywhere in Australia capable of the mammoth task.

“The NFF is seeking immediate clarification as to whether other options are available to farmers.”

[ENDS]

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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