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NSW Department has announced the starting allocations for water users for the new water year 2020-2021 with all water users (Stock and Domestic, Towns, High Security, Supplementary and Unregulated  in the surface water systems and Groundwater) receiving 100% except General Security users.  General Security water users have access to ongoing carryover water of 12GL for water users  and 31GL for environmental water holders via the NSW DPIE-W.

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The Feral Pig monitoring program supported by the NSW Government and the NW LLS is drawing to a close. We have conducted a range of monitoring and management activities including collaring and tagging pigs, trapping and shooting.  As we move into our winter cropping season pig damage will become more evident, especially as many pregnant sows have been observed. The GVIA can provide support to local landholders who participate in group control activities and would appreciate information on crop damage caused by feral pigs. Please contact us for more information. 

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The NSW Government has appointed an independent panel to assess what improvements can be made to better manage the use, communication and application of temporary restrictions like those used in February 2020.   These restrictions were used to manage the first major water flows following rainfall across the northern Murray-Darling after record drought conditions.

The panel is now seeking feedback from the community on their views and experiences in relation to the first flush event and suggestions on the future management of these events. They invite you to make a submission or give your feedback by completing the survey available on the review website.  

The GVIA will be providing our own feedback via this survey, and we encourage members and all stakeholders affected by these events, to directly provide their own individual experiences and feedback to the panel.   

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DPIE-W announced the Gwydir Valley received it’s first allocation since February 2018 with 1.9% allocation (or 10.56GL) issued to water users including the environment.  Inflows into Copeton Dam since February this year are greater than 60% of the total inflows into the dam over the last 2.5 years. 

The allocation announcement together with a full reserve essential supplies reserve (for two years) in Copeton Dam and recent supplementary availability below the dam, signals for the first-time in years that the whole catchment has a good soil moisture and any rain should generate flows into our river systems.  Whilst the drought hasn’t broken, it’s a good start for water users and the region.       

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In a world first, the government is using LiDAR to construct images to estimate the volume of floodplain harvesting captured in private water storages in the Northern Basin valleys as reported in The Land last week.  The article said "There is a combined capacity of 1450 gigalitres within 1386 private on-farm storages across the Northern Basin, which are filled infrequently and only during wet periods." and Minister for Water, Ms Pavey said "...the department is able to determine both the capacity and volume held in private on-farm storages with much greater accuracy....Using this technology, we were able to assess the volume of floodplain harvesting was around 20GL during this time [the temporary restriction in February 2020]. Now, over 380GL has made it to the Menindee Lakes, reconnecting the Lower Darling to the Murray River for the first time since 2016," she said. 
We think it's important that the NSW Government release results like this, to build confidence and show their significant investment in FPH monitoring and compliance. As we know, floodplain harvesting opportunity arises in a flood, when there is plenty of water available for everyone.  These results demonstrates this fact, with take only 5% of the total flow measured at Menindee Lakes, more than 1000km of river channel and floodplain downstream, with no impact to the achievement of the targets for critical needs required at the time.

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As the current season is drawing to a close and winter planting is getting underway, the Smarter Irrigation for Profit researchers are looking to see  what you want to know more about with regards irrigation. We have developed a 4 question survey and would love your input. 
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SIP2_Webinar

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With recent catchment rainfall, water availability has improved across the catchment with inflows into Copeton Dam as well as approximately 10% Supplementary allocation available from inflows below the Dam.  The region has moved down to Stage 2 for Drought Management, due to the forecast of 2-years supply of all essential water requirements including towns.  A small deficit for General Security delivery remains and must be addressed prior to any new allocations.

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NSW Government has released the draft Terms of Reference into their Independent Assessment into the First Flush in the northern basin -  the management and communication of  temporary restrictions implemented in February 2020 to achieve flow outcomes within the valley and downstream in the Barwon-Darling. There is an opportunity to provide input into the review via a multi-step submission process, starting with the Terms of Reference. The GVIA will be working on suggestions to improve the terms including ensuring the panel has relevant technical input into the effectiveness of the event by considering northern basin hydrology and flows.

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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. 

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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.

Making Every Drop Count

Securing a future for the Gwydir Valley through Irrigated Agriculture.