Riverina irrigators will continue to lobby for early access to water despite a NSW government decision to maintain zero allocations of general security irrigation water.
The government says all volumes of water currently held in storages for the NSW Murray have been allocated and that close to 300GL has already been loaned from environmental accounts to underpin current allocations.
Southern Riverina Irrigators, Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, Murray Valley Private Diverters and Murray Irrigation are presenting a three-pronged approach to work with the Federal and NSW ministers, governments and their agencies to source water for General Security water holders in the NSW Murray Valley.
RGA is pursuing the issue from a commodity perspective, SRI and MVPD from the perspective of providing a solution and relief to their colleagues, and MIL is leveraging its commercial strength to reduce the risk of any possible solution.
NSW Farmers president James Jackson said the NSW government must explain to drought-affected irrigators why their general security entitlements have been maintained at zero when the Dartmouth Dam is at 90 per cent and where irrigators in other states are seeing higher entitlements maintained.
“Farmers in New South Wales, dealing with the impact of one of the worst droughts on record, are scratching their heads today wondering what on earth is going on”, Mr Jackson said.
“Farmers have been asking for the NSW government to provide an early allocation, on a brought forward basis, of as little as one per cent of their entitlement. This allocation, to be returned once it rains, will enable the finishing of winter crops which will otherwise die without water.”
“By bringing forward water, these farmers can do their bit to assist struggling producers across the rest of the state tackle the need for increased supply of fodder to keep animals alive into the spring and summer.”
Murray MP Austin Evans met with NSW Farmers on Tuesday.