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The NSW and Commonwealth Governments have significant natural assets in our region - NSW is responsible for land and water and the Commonwealth are the largest single water entitlement owner in the valley.  While a farmer is financially accountable for their decisions and socially accountable as custodians to manage their land - not to mention the rules and regulations they must abide by. Who are our government's accountable to when they make decisions on how they manage their assets? It's the community!
Zara Lowien said "Its important that the community are aware of what is done with the water that is delivered to these areas and how those decisions are made"...

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Today, the NSW Government announced that the it will adjust the first three start dates for the new metering rules, meaning the first roll-out date for larger than 500mm pipe diameters is now 1 December 2020.  This announcement, while welcomed and well-overdue, unfortunately fails to acknowledge that the NSW Government has failed to outline to water users what data logger or telemetry devices are approved for installation as part of the new regulations.  This decision is still pending. 

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Today, the GVIA launched two videos calling on the NSW Government to finalise their decision regarding changes to the NSW Non-urban Water Metering Regulations that were consulted on back in August 2019.  Executive Officer, Zara Lowien said "it's now less than two-months before the first deadline for water users to ensure their metering equipment meets the new rules and no one knows what data logger or telemetry units are approved for installation.  Without this decision,  no water user in NSW can be compliant.  Farmers all around NSW are under enough pressure already, enough is enough".   

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On Sunday 29th September Landline featured a story on the pig monitoring project that was completed in the Berrigal Creek region over the last three years. The collars used in that project are now in use for the GVIA project.
We have eight collared pigs and a camera grid monitoring pig movements in our region, as shown in the image of the collared boar. Area wide control activities will begin in the next few weeks. If we are to achieve our target 80-90% control we need everyone to be involved in effective control activities. 

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Groups across the northern basin communities would like to correct several claims made during an interview with Michael Condon on the ABC’s ‘Country Hour’ on 2 September 2019. These statements are demonstrably false, and not supported by any evidence. The fact that they were broadcast without challenge points to the lack of knowledge of water issues and the tendency to perpetuate opinion as fact, as in other recent ABC programs.

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Water availability has been updated following the recent resource assessment, availability for irrigation has increased due to trade of high security allocations into the general security pool.  Currently there is 3GL available in irrigation general security accounts but with limited deliverability and 35GL for environmental water managers.  We remain in Stage 3 of drought management as the Copeton Dam holds predominately critical water supplies only.

Member Updates |

The GVIA has Gwydir Regulated General Security (400ML) and Lower Gwydir Groundwater (16ML) of allocations for expression of a price per megalitre for each parcel by 12pm Monday, 23 September 2019 by emailing gvia@gvia.org.au.

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The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Water Division late Friday night released their final version of their Independent Review of Floodplain Harvesting Policy Implementation as well as the NSW Government’s Floodplain Harvesting Action Plan to respond to this advice. The NSW Government will also be holding public consultation on these documents, due to start in Narrabri on Monday, 9 September 2019.
We’ve asked for regional DPIE offices to be set up to access the webinar on Wednesday 18th for those that cannot make one of the locations.  For GVIA members, our office will be set up with the webinar. 
Zara Lowien, Executive Officer of the Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association, said it’s important that anyone in NSW that has a dam that can collect rainfall runoff from across their farm, considers attending a consultation session or the webinar.

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Irrigation groups from northern NSW have added their voice to concerns with the quality of the Natural Resources Commissions draft report reviewing the Barwon Darling Water Sharing Plan. 
They collectively provided a submission to the draft review saying that the NRC appears to have moved away from its previous approach to reviews and have provided no evidence of a former robust process in this draft report.
Northern irrigators say they are frustrated that the NRC relied heavily on expert opinion with “so-called” supporting evidence that was not publicly available.

The GVIA also provided their own submission.

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Together with the Moree and Garah branches of NSW Farmers, the Gwydir Valley CGA and GrowerCo, we recently wrote to our Federal and State local members regarding the proposed rail-way line upgrade for the Inland Rail.  The new proposal will see construction not starting until October 2020 (after being due to start at the end of 2019) and our rail line for Narrabri to Moree will now be closed for 17 months.   We wrote because construction will not happen during the drought but rather when the drought is potentially breaking and recovering, thus only adding further economic hardship to the farmer and community.  We propose to move forward the upgrades, to complete a large part whilst no commodities are moving by rail for export and thus minimise disruption once the drought breaks. This approach also represents an opportunity to provide employment and an economic boost to the region in a time when our community is struggling. We're asking members to contact local members and elected representatives as well as ARTC, to support this proposal.  See link for ARTC contact information.

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This is a great opportunity for our local community to inform the Senate Select Committee inquiry into Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas about the opportunities and challenges in our region. The Committee inquiry will cover a number of matters including: new industries and employment opportunities for regions; existing jobs in regions in clean energy technology and ecological services and their future significance; lessons learned from structural adjustments and privatisation and their impact on labour markets and local economies; the importance of long-term planning to support the diversification of supply chain industries and local economies; and measures to guide the transition into new industries and employment.
Submission closing date is 6 September 2019

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The Gwydir Strategic Pest Management initiative that brings landholders and National Parks together in the management of feral pigs is well underway now. Despite the dry conditions there are still significant feral pig numbers out there, and they are still breeding, so we all need to remain vigilant in our control of these feral pests.
Critical to managing feral pigs is to use all control mechanisms. The LLS have a Winter Feral Pig Control Program running until the end of August, producers who are working with their neighbours trapping or baiting are encouraged to contract the LLS on 1300 795 299 to source grain for trapping and baiting.

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Criticism of the NSW Government’s socio-economic assessment included in part of the public release of the Murray to Broken Hill pipeline Business Case[1] outlining the decision to build a pipeline for an alternate water supply for Broken Hill (finished earlier this year) is trying to lay blaim on northern irrigators without justification once more.
Zara Lowien said “It seems there is no shortage of drought-deniers that claim we are either not in drought or that we’ve never had a critical water supply issue before” she said.
“They simply miss the fact that when it doesn’t rain, our rivers don’t flow and there’s no water for anyone.” she said.

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Current water availability in the Gwydir Valley has been updated following the July Resource Assessment.  The region remains in Stage 3 for Drought Management with Copeton Dam steady at 9%.  Current resources are secured for essential supplies, with limited carryover remaining (2,000ML for irrigators and 35,000ML for environment), although with loss accounts in deficit by 39,000ML, WaterNSW will work with water users to ensure coordination of releases or to utilise any natural inflows, if they occur.  This means that delivery of water allocation is not on demand and unlikely to provide for water deliveries west of the township of Moree.

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Submissions are due on Monday, 12 August to provide feedback on the NSW Metering Regulations.  The GVIA is providing a number of   recommendations around on-the-ground challenges with implementation of regulations, including amending the telemetry roll-out date to 1 December 2020 and a legislative process to address lack of water to undertake wet-testing of new and existing meters.  We are asking for individual submissions to be made via the NSW Government's Have your Say website. For more information click below to see our video.   

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The Mimosa Management Demonstration site to the east of Moree has had its final assessment. The two strongest performing applications were treatments 11 (Grazon Extra,Lontrel Advance, Stinger and Pulse) and 12 (Graslan). The site has recently been slashed, and new signage will be installed in the near future, so it is easy to see how each of the treatments have performed. Site maps and summary results are available on the GVIA Mimosa page.

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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.

Making Every Drop Count

Securing a future for the Gwydir Valley through Irrigated Agriculture.