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.
NSW IPART have approved prices for WaterNSW bulk regional delivery for the 2019/2020 water delivery year, to take effect on 1 July 2019. The
decision has seen minor increases for inflation and CPI for WaterNSW customers in the Gwydir Valley. More information is available
from NSW IPART or click below to see our pricing webpage.
AgSkilled together with Tocal College and NSW Dept of Industry will be running a new course "THRIVE - Productivity for
in Moree and Dubbo in the coming months. The course is designed to help build skills in productivity, communication and leadership and is
suited to men and women involved in any sector of the cotton or grains industry, at any stage in their career. For more
information, see the flyer or contact Rebecca Fing for more details.
NSW Department of Industry-Water and WaterNSW were in Moree this week as part of their tour of drought-affected regions in the state. To
talk with communities, providing an updates on surface and groundwater water availability and the proposed management measures if the dry
"In the Gwydir, we're not quite at record low inflows but we're certainly in the lowest per cent of years over the last 100 years or so,"
Mr Wrathall said.
"Storage still has some water in it, enough to keep the river running periodically over the next year or two and critical needs are still
able to be met.
As GVIA members are also members of NSW Irrigators Council and now you can sign up directly to receive updates from the state-body for
irrigators in NSW via http://www.nswic.org.au/newsletter-registration/, previous updates are available via the link below
NSW Department of Industry - Water and WaterNSW are holding the second public session on water management during drought. These sessions
will provide an update on water availability, groundwater and the proposed measures to help manage the river systems if the dry conditions
A session is scheduled for Moree on the 24th May, 12-2pm, at the Max Centre, Moree. Please see the link below to find out more and to
Zara Lowien, our Executive Officer, recently contributed to the Australian Farm Institute's May Insights Newsletter on 'The Changeing
Landscape of the Murray Darling Basin Plan'. Zara outlined answers to three key questions, regarding climate change, water markets and
community disruption and what a reset of the Plan would look like. She summed up the current frustrations with the Basin Plan
with this closing comment "The vitriolic debate about who is responsible for low water availability, rivers ceasing to flow and
unfortunate fish deaths during this current drought exemplifies that we’ve failed to manage expectations about the MDBP; what it is about
for communities and the broader Australian public and what it can achieve now and into the future."