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The NWLLS currently have a Winter feral pig control program running. They are offering free grain for feral pig baiting and trapping programs. The program is only running until the end of August. For more information please contact the NW LLS on 1300 795 299

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Last night’s Four corners story “Cash Splash” regarding water infrastructure programs to achieve the water recovery under the Murray Darling Basin Plan missed several important key messages which we would like to share with you. The environment has more water available to them to use for environmental outcomes during this drought because of the Basin Plan.  This water is only available due to buy-back or infrastructure programs and they have more than 2,106 GL of entitlement from across the Basin (76% of the targeted volume). Our rivers in the last three-months has been flowing because of this water. Willing participants have done their part with most of the water recovery complete. It’s now up to Governments to work with communities to achieve the last of the water recovery through projects and environmental water managers to manage their portfolios to achieve real outcomes.

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NSW Department of Industry - Water today made their starting allocations in the Gwydir Valley for the 2019-2020 water year.  In the regulated system, only critical water supplies received a 100% allocation (this includes High Security water users) and with surface water reserves low, deliverability of remaining regulated allocations including carryover allocations will require cooperation between all water users to ensure deliveries are as efficient as practically possible as per the WaterNSW operations update.  Lower Gwydir Groundwater users also received 100% allocation, as well as unregulated and alluvial entitlements.

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Copeton Dam is at 9% and steadying as the last of the environmental releases for the northern connectivity event for fish wind-down, however there is only 2,000 megalitres available to irrigators as carryover for next season.  Essential supplies including high security are secured, although below the targeted 2-year supply level which may impact deliverability without further inflows or natural flows. Dam capacity would still need to increase by 3% before an allocation could be made and this is to ensure security of essential supplies.

Groundwater usage on the three-year rolling average is tracking just below Plan Limit and this volume of usage should not impact starting allocations, when announced on 1 July 2019.

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The Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme run by the NSW Government Department of Primary Industries, Rural Assistance Authority is currently available for  eligible Primary Producers to claim a rebate of 25% (up to $25,000 per farm) of the cost of purchase ,delivery and the labour cost to engage a person to install water infrastructure for animal welfare needs. The rebate can be applied to costs incurred from 1st July 2018 for new purchases, and installation of pipes, water storages and water pumps, de-silting dams, and associated power supply such as generators.

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The GVIA has welcomed the extension of drought measures in the recent NSW Government Budget to waive fixed water charges for some members and local land services rates, this keeps money in farmers pockets that they can prioritise on other expenses during the drought. We encourage members to spend the equivalent dollars in their local communities and pass on this benefit to another small business doing it tough in the drought.  The GVIA also welcomed upgrades to regional telecommunications and infrastructure projects like roads and water supplies, which will help to ensure regional communities can remain competitive in business. More information on budge measures is available via the NSW Budget 2019-20 webpage.

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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 which includes a link to the WaterNSW billing calculator.  

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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 conditions persist.

"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.

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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

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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."

Making Every Drop Count

Securing a future for the Gwydir Valley through Irrigated Agriculture.