ABC’s Four Corners episode "Pumping" raised a number of very distinct issues that all relate to water take in the Murray Darling Basin. One of the issues raised was illegal water take.
The overwhelming majority of farmers and irrigators do the right thing, however, strong regulatory enforcement is needed when it is proven that water has been taken against the rules, or tampering/disabling of metering equipment has occurred. This is theft from all other water users and it should not be tolerated.
Another issue raised on the program was the changes to the rules that were reflected in the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan, finalised in 2012. These rule changes have been the subject of discussion amongst NSW Farmers’ elected representatives during past months and years, and are something that we know causes significant angst amongst all of the water users within that Water Sharing Plan.
Where it is alleged that those rules were changed without true transparency for all water users- NSW Farmers fully supports an investigation into the process by which these rule changes were made. We call for this on the principle that these changes can have a significant impact on all water users, including stock and domestic water rights holders, and downstream users.
These decisions need to be made with full transparency and scientific backing. Rule changes also need to occur through the established processes of the local consultation committee during the appropriate review period. The agricultural community needs complete certainty that this will occur, always.”