SOUTHERN Riverina irrigators worst fears have been confirmed with general security water allocations remaining unchanged with communities in the Murray region trying to remain positive in the face of adversity,
Against a backdrop of drought in the Murray Darling Basin being the worst on record, NSW Water has been unable to provide the relief irrigation towns were hoping for in the 2019-20 water year.
Ongoing zero water allocations featured prominently in the NSW and federal elections held this year with member for Farrer Sussan Ley this week meeting with senior staff in the office of state water minister Melinda Pavey seeking an indication whether an allocation can be found somewhere within existing storages.
"The discussion centred on the challenges being faced by our farmers in the southern basin, options for a fairer distribution of conveyance losses, as well as the recent announcement by the Victorian minister to restrict water for new permanent plantings below the Barmah Choke," Ms Ley said.
"I know there are also proposals to better use the Mulwala Canal to deliver water downstream.
"I expect minister Pavey will update our communities on NSW decisions and actions in the coming weeks.
(But) I am also committed to not overstating what is achievable, nor promise things I simply cannot deliver, or pretend we can tell the states what to do with their allocations, or water policy."
Ms Ley also met recently with South Australia's water minister David Speirs with discussions focusing on proposed engineering solutions to keep the Coorong and Lower lakes healthy with less upstream water.
Next week in Canberra, Ms Ley will be part of a group of Basin MPs zeroing in on the plight of water users, particularly those in the dairy sector.
Berrigan Shire mayor Matthew Hannan said some good rains at the start of the cropping season were providing some optimism in the short-term.
"Obviously the season is dependent on the rains at the end to finish those crops off," he said.
"It might have been wishful thinking in the allocation side of things, but there is some definite optimism around with some rain we've had.
"Crops have already started to come out of the ground which is a good thing.
"Dairy has been under pressure in our area for a while.
"But some further rain would definitely bring some feed out of the ground.
"We've had discussions with the water minister and we just need to find a suitable outcome."
Ms Ley will also next week meet with Robbie Sefton, who is chairing the review into rules surrounding water allocations and entitlements.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here