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.
With the response to Covid-19, the GVIA office is now closed and staff are rotating being in the office. Appointment can be made if
required. Our work continues and both Zara and Lou are still available by phone; 02 67521399 or email. Please dont hesitate to contact
us. Stay safe and well. Thank You
The Gwydir CGA would like to invite you to join us for the 2020 Gwydir Field Day.
The field day will provide an opportunity to look at some new and innovative technologies including the CSD variety trials, XtendFlex , a
machine vision app for insect management and the canopy temperature sensors. There will be an update from the CSIRO breeding team and the
NSW DPI water productivity benchmarking project.
Floodplain harvesting is the capture and use of overland flow water flowing across a floodplain during a flood. Farmers everywhere in
NSW (north and south) capture over land flow water as part of their works approval requirements to store rainfall on farm to mitigate
environmental impacts. Farms are specifically designed for this purpose.
Farmers on floodplains have flood protection works designed to exclude overland flow outside of the developed area, to protect their crops,
homes and farm infrastructure from damage.
Overland flows generally occur only when there is major flooding. If there’s no flooding, there’s no floodwater to capture. The localised
flooding in the Namoi and Lower Gwydir Valleys (Mehi region) this last month has been the first event since 2011 and 2012 for these regions.
This statement is provided as a response to concerns raised due to misinformation regarding northern embargoes and floodplain harvesting.
Our organisation supports the need for a first flush to provide flow for critical human needs. We also are on record requesting greater
transparency around the decision to utilise, amend and remove temporary pumping restrictions in NSW. This process must be undertaken with a
clear methodology, based on fact and science and communicated communities both up and downstream.
On the back of last week’s bureaucratic bungling, Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association are warning that the lack of responsiveness by
government and transparent processes are sacrificing our farmers and wasting precious water.