In my view by Zara Lowien
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."Read More
Federal election policy comparisons
The Federal election campaign draws to a close this Saturday, 18th May. To lend a line from former Prime Minister John Howard when asked
whether a candidate was fit for Parliament, he said “It is a matter not for you or me... The Australian people will decide whether somebody
is fit to be in parliament”.
With that in mind, we have provided a comparison of party policies around water predominately but we have also provided links to other tools on a range of regional and rural issues and candidate information, for you to review and consider prior to exercising your right to vote. To make your vote count and ensure you help decide who's fit for Parliament, be aware of voting requirements (the Senate process has changed) but also exercise your full preferential voting.
Environmental flows welcomed
Water will again flow down the Mehi River through Moree this week, following the decision by environmental water managers to re-start the river and provide flows for a fish flow event. Flow events like this are a great opportunity for everyone to see what can be achieved with judicial use of environmental water. An update from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is available via bit.ly/2IsLn79Read More
New project to be launched
Over the next 12-months the GVIA will be working in partnership with a range of organisations and local landholders to implement a strategic feral pig management program in the Valley. The program will involve monitoring feral pig populations and the damage they cause to natural ecosystems and crops in and around the Gwydir wetlands and is due to start the initial stages of planning for implementation. We are currently seeking interest from landholders in the lower reaches of the valley around Moree and further west, to work on the project steering committee.Read More
Remaining water secured for critical needs
The final balances of water remaining in the Gwydir Valley have been confirmed in the February resource assessment with remaining water for critical needs the majority of water stored in Copeton Dam, along with the last of general security (2,000ML) and environmental holdings (69,000ML). Environmental water is likely to be used for drought management strategies.Read More
Fish kill reports highlights lack of understanding of the Basin Plan
GVIA Executive Officer, recently made a statement to the Moree Champion regarding the release of two independent reports into the fish kills
at Menindee Lakes saying that the continued focus on a number or volume to be recovered for the environment, from irrigation [for the
Murray Darling Basin Plan], has meant that the outcomes to be achieved and how it would be used, are not well understood.
Photo: Dead fish in the Barwon River in 1958, before irrigation.
Copeton Dam alert
Water NSW have issued a blue-green algal alert for Copeton Dam, which is at 12% capacity and holding critical water supplies and
environmental holdings only. Water quality issues like this will continue to be an issue in the dam and the regions rivers and creeks
until fresh inflows occur.
Total inflows into the Copeton this year have been at our lowest historical records. Capacity would need to increase by at least 5% before consideration of any additional supplies other than the valleys critical water needs.
Celebrating women in science with our team
Today is Women and Girls in Science day and we thought we would celebrate the great work of our team! Lou (L) who has a Bachelor of AgSci from UNE and Masters in Business is representing the GVIA and the CGA at UNE GRASS Industry Placement celebrations having co-hosted a high school student earlier this year, also a budding female scientist. Zara (R) who has Hons in LWSci from Sydney Uni, is monitoring water usage across the valley and fulling out key facts and developing policies on water measurement. That is just today's snippet of what they are doing but it's exciting to see where science can take you! Lou and Zara work with a great group of men and women at the GVIA to help ensure our work is well researched and well communicated. To find out more of what they do and the GVIA, visit our website.Read More
SA Royal Commission releases report
The South Australian Royal Commission's report into the Murray Darling Basin Plan has been released and is now available via their website. The MDBA have provided a response via https://www.mdba.gov.au/media/mr/mdba-response-south-australian-royal-commission-final-report. There are many recommendations which will take time to review and with headings like the 'triple bottom line myth' this report will get much media attention, particularly with the upcoming elections.Read More
Current Water Availability
Water availability in the region has been updated following recent resource assessments outlining a 32,000ML shortfall that will need to be topped up before an allocation is available. There is less than 8,000ML available in general security accounts and groundwater will be relied on heavily for the remainder of the season. Groundwater users are encouraged to provide updated meter readings via iWAS to allow for monitoring of valley usage.Read More