The Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association (GVIA) represents in excess of 400 water entitlement holders in the Gwydir Valley.
Our water entitlement holders are some of the most progressive in the world, actively engaged in, and innovating irrigated agriculture. From broadacre crops such as cotton to tree crops such as pecans, oranges and olives, our industry is diverse and productive. We are all acutely aware that reliability of water in the valley is low, and thus strive to Make Every Drop Count for the producer, the community and the environment.
Our vision is for the local irrigation industry, the environment and the Gwydir Valley community to have a secure, vibrant future, with the GVIA recognised as an industry leader.
The Gwydir Valley, centred around the town of Moree in north west NSW is an extremely productive agricultural region. Agriculture employs 20-30% of the population and contributes an estimate 7.8% of NSW’s total agricultural production. Irrigated agriculture is particularly important, contributing significantly to the social and economic wellbeing of the region.
The irrigated olive industry was initiated in the Gwydir Valley over 25 years ago. Olives are a vertically integrated industry
with the nationally recognised Gwydir Grove Olives the largest local producer and processor. In recent years the number of olive
trees has declined as some producers have switched from olives into pecans.
Oranges are a new irrigation industry in the Gwydir Valley, with the majority of the trees planted since 2005. It is currently expanding
with an expected area of 350Ha to be under production by 2020. The citrus industry in the Gwydir Valley is part of the locally owned and vertically
integrated Grove Juice business.
The pecan industry is an important irrigation industry for the Gwydir Valley. Trawalla, owned and operated by Stahmann Farms is the largest
in the region producing approximately 90% of Australia’s pecans. Australia is the fourth largest global producer of pecans. Stahmann Farms operate
the country's only commercial pecan shelling, value-adding and packing plant.
The Gwydir Valley is a diverse broadacre cropping region producing a range of both summer and winter crops. The primary winter crops include; chickpeas,
wheat, barley, and more recently canola. While summer plantings include sorghum, faba beans, mung beans, maize and sunflowers. The majority of the broadacre
cropping area is dryland.
Cotton is the most significant irrigated crop in the Gwydir Valley with an average of 70,000Ha. It is also an important dryland crop with an average of 79,000Ha annually.
The area planted can fluctuate from year to year, being dependant on either available irrigation water and seasonal rainfall.
Lucerne and Hay are niche crops in the Gwydir Valley covering an estimated 4,500Ha. Lucerne is produced primarily on smaller blocks and is irrigated by bore water
entitlements. Hay production includes Lucerne, cereals and pastures.
The turf industry has been a part of the irrigation industry of the Gwydir Valley for almost 20 years, but there are only two producers in the valley. It covers a very small
area of only 20Ha and is irrigated by bore water entitlements. The primary species produced is Buffalo.
The Gwydir Wetlands are a system of terminal delta wetlands, located downstream of the Gwydir River approximately 45kms west of Moree in north west NSW. They are recognised for their
unique vegetation and bird breeding potential. The wetlands are estimated to consist of approximately 6,829Ha of semi-permanent wetland and 77,949Ha of floodplain wetland.
WaterNSW monitor 51 river gauge locations in the Gwydir River and streams(418) using telemetry with data accessible in real time. These sites collect a range of information from flow rate,
discharge volume and river heights and assist WaterNSW in their role of water delivery operators whilst providing an indication of water availability.
All water in the Gwydir is managed by water sharing plans established progressively since 2004. Currently 19% of long term Gwydir river flows and 85% of sustainable yield of the Lower Gwydir
aquifer are available for irrigation. This has been reduced over time following reforms and water recovery for environment.
The are a number of groundwater sources including the Lower Gwydir aquifer used for irrigation and the Great Artesian Basin, including recharge zones. WaterNSW monitor
levels via 26 monitoring sites with data accessible in real time.
Groundwater provides reliable irrigation water, quality drinking water for towns and properties and is one of the region’s major tourism attractions.
Copeton Dam is located on the Gwydir River upstream of Bingara on the north-west slopes of NSW. It is one of the largest inland dams in NSW with a capacity of 1,364,000
megalitres of water. It was initiated in 1966 to provide town water supplies and to boost irrigated agricultural production in the Gwydir Valley.
Water NSW have expanded their Early Warning Network to manage notifications for temporary restrictions to pumping conditions (in addition
to dam safety and flood notifications). It is recommended all water users subscribe to this process to be sent an email and SMS on any
announcements from Water NSW regarding access arrangements.
Please be aware DPIE have issues a Section 324 water restriction under the NSW Water Management Act in anticipation of potential natural
inflows into the regions water systems this is for unregulated, general security and supplementary licences. Details are to be
provided on the DPIE website. This order does not include current water orders in the system and high security deliveries. Exemptions
to test metering equipment are expected to exist and procedures must be followed as per the gazette.
With the anticipation of rain forecast by the BOM, its important that water users are aware of the conditions around water access in the
event we receive river system inflows. There are currently deliveries within the system that would need to be satisfied, as with the
provision of stock and domestic and basic landholder right flows to systems that have not received any substantial flows to-date. To
ensure you are up to date, please check the Department
of Industry website
for any temporary restrictions.
We note that previous restrictions have made allowances to test metering equipment for a limited volume of no more than 1ML provided the
duly qualified person, undertaking the testing informs NRAR. This information will be available on the Government Gazette if a
restriction is put in place.