VICTORIAN farmers welcomed a new water direction for the next decade after the State Government today unveiled its finished Water for Victoria plan.
The Victorian Farmers Federation was engaged in developing the plan, which includes:
- Improving flexibility for licence holders on unregulated streams to take water during high flow periods
- Committing to consult with water users on the conversion of take and use licences in unregulated northern Victorian systems; and
- Exploring options to improve water security for peri-urban irrigation districts through recycled water and the introduction of a southern market trial.
VFF Water Council Chairman Richard Anderson said he hoped the plan would lead to greater water security for farmers and more investment in rural and regional water infrastructure.
“The plan acknowledges water challenges all farmers know too well, and it sets the scene for government to invest in expanding rural water supply systems and modernising existing systems.”
Mr Anderson said the plan recognised a number of water projects across the State are at feasibility and business case stage, and that the VFF would work to secure the future of these projects.
“We hope the Water Plan will lead to government investment in the capital component of these projects,” he said.
The Plan identifies key challenges faced by the agricultural industry, including; irrigation district viability and the security of stock water supplies across the state. The VFF will work with government to tackle these challenges.
Mr Anderson warned that rapid growth in areas across Victoria would lead to increased competition for water and urged the government to take into account farm interests when making urban water decisions.
“Farmers need surety of supply so they can invest in their business and it is vital that farmer interests are considered in urban water decision making,” he said.
The Water Plan indicates a commitment from the Victorian Government to ensure the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is implemented to achieve a balanced outcome, ensuring the economic and social impacts of implementation are considered in future basin plan actions, not only the environmental benefits.
“The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is a work in progress; we have to ensure that the impacts of water recovery and the environments water requirements are appropriately assessed and considered. The Water Plan indicates we have the Victorian Governments support in this”, said Mr Anderson.
“We’re committed to ensuring the Water Plan is rolled out to support the interests of rural water users.”