Water remains a scarce resource 

NSW Farmers Association supports watershed management rules that prioritise the use of flows for stock and domestic use during times of drought.

The Association says embargoes do have a place in the NSW water management framework and supports their use for effective management of first flows.

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said farmers throughout the Murray Darling Basin System in NSW have endured severe drought for more than three years, with many communities forced to cart drinking water and destock.

“The drought is far from over. Recent rainfall across parts of the basin has provided some relief for farmers throughout the Barwon Darling river system. Hopefully farmers as far down as Menindee and the Lower Darling will be able to replenish urgently required stock and domestic water,” Mr Jackson said. 

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment partially lifted an embargo last week on floodplain harvesting in the Northern Basin to manage after analysis showed water would flow down the Barwon-Darling River and into Lake Wetherell near Menindee.

“The Association has not spoken with the Department or the Minister for Water about the partial lifting of the embargo, and we will be seeking an urgent briefing from DPI Water to form a view on whether stock and domestic rights have been properly protected.”

“A key part of our advocacy on the Murray Darling Basin plan is focussed on longstanding policy prioritizing stock and domestic needs over irrigation.”

“The plan is not coping with the drought and it is putting productive farmers, towns, regions and the environment in NSW under real strain.”

NSW Farmers continues to call on the Commonwealth and state governments to work together to make changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan that will ensure that the Plan will support agriculture, the environment and the communities that depend on the Murray Darling Basin system. 

Date: Monday, 24 February 2020 
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au