COTTON Australia has welcomed – “cautiously” – a Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) announcement on environmental water efficiency projects.
The MDBA has released its assessment of a package of projects, nominated by Basin state government, that could mean an adjustment to sustainable diversion limits (SDL) in the southern Basin.
They could generate environmental outcomes equivalent to 605 gigalitres.
If approved, the MDBA has indicated no further water recovery would be required in the southern Basin to meet the requirements of 2750GL in the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray said the cotton and other irrigating farming industries were cautiously pleased.
"Although this is a preliminary assessment by the MDBA and is subject to further consultation, it is important news for cotton growers and other irrigators, and a welcome step forward,” Mr Murray said.
"Cotton Australia and other water user groups have long advocated that the basin plan had to look further than just simple water recovery, and the MDBA's announcement is an encouraging sign that such measures are considered valid."
Mr Murray said irrigators and their communities would have more confidence in the Murray Darling Basin Plan now that the overall sustainable diversion limit could be locked in.
“Although we are still working through the detail of the projects, the MDBA's announcement is welcomed."
The MDBA has invited feedback before it makes its final assessment and advice to Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce by mid-December.
- Make a submission at getinvolved.mdba.gov.au
People with drive
Meanwhile, people from across the basin – from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences – are being asked to nominate for the Murray-Darling Basin Community Committee.
MDBA chairman Neil Andrew AO said the committee was a vital tool to “provide us insights into what is happening on the ground, and we get honest advice about what’s occurring with basin plan implementation and water resources and what might need improving”.
He said they would help ensure “community observations, voices and experiences are heard and, importantly, influence arrangements”.
“We want [people] with expertise or interest in Aboriginal water resource matters, local community issues, local government, environmental water management, and irrigated agriculture to put their hands up,” Mr Andrew said.
- Expressions of interest can be made at mdba.gov.au by November 3