MRC goes in to bat for local irrigators

By Riverine Herald

MURRAY River Council is speaking up for struggling irrigators — and they’re going to the head honcho to share their concerns.

MRC resolved at the September ordinary meeting to write to the prime minister and NSW premier, sharing council’s concerns about the ‘‘apathy being shown to general water irrigators’’ at a time of zero per cent water allocation.

Deputy mayor Gen Campbell said council is not prepared to sit back and accept an ‘‘out of touch approach to the current drought conditions that will likely prompt the decimation of local communities’’.

“Many irrigators, due to the high price of temporary water in recent years, are not in a financial position to carry over water from one season to another,’’ she said.

“Little or no rain is pressure on our grain farmers and zero water allocation for our irrigators does not assist when ample water sits in our storages.’’

Motions to be raised in the correspondence include:

■ Environmental water is currently being used to flood the nearby Gunbower State Forest during the middle of a drought, when historically the forest would not have flooded in such years.

■ Although the sale of the 20gl of environmental water to irrigators was welcomed throughout the irrigation industry, the harsh reality is with this parcel of water going to the highest bidders, the irrigators who most need this water will never be able to afford the price.

■ The drought is placing an enormous financial and mental stress on farming communities.

“The resilience of our economy and our communities is certainly being tested at the moment and we will continue to lobby government departments for water relief and assistance,’’ Cr Campbell said.

“It is vital water is given in the form of an allocation increase and we will be encouraging the Government to give major consideration to diverting more environmental water to irrigators as well.’’