NSW irrigators want greater access to water

Posted 15 September 2017

Lachlan Valley irrigators have launched a campaign calling for a reassessment of the Water Sharing Plan, with the aim of providing better support to agricultural production in the region. 

Although the region’s gross irrigated agriculture has been valued at $190 to $245 million a year over the past five years, Lachlan Valley Water Chair Tom Green said production is lower than it could be because irrigators don’t have the confidence to invest. 

“We want the government to allow changes to the rules, not to increase the extractive share but to improve availability so that irrigators can have the confidence to use their allowed share,” he said. 

“We will invest, we will do the work.”

The campaign calls for the Department of Primary Industries to consider how assured access to allocated water for irrigators will help improve development in the region.

Currently, 1% of water is applied to towns, stock and domestic use, with another 2% allocated to high-security water licences. 

Irrigators have expressed concern that an increasing percentage of water is being allocated to the environment. Environmental water currently accounts for 75% of allocation. 

“Forbes is a fertile farming area with good access to the river,” campaigner Jamie Morgan said.

“The potential is there, it’s just having the certainty of supply that’s needed.”
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