Water Week

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Fed plan to take water from irrigators to keep in reserve for SA next year is “scandalous and unacceptable”, says Vic Premier

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

The Howard Government was facing a revolt from Victoria over a radical plan to take water from irrigators to keep in reserve for South Australia next year, wrote Jewel Topsfield in The Age (20/9/2007, p.6).

“Scandalous”: Premier John Brumby said the proposal was scandalous and unacceptable, particularly when Victorian irrigators were on their lowest water allocations. Under the plan, part of irrigators’ water allocations would be held back in dams in Victoria and NSW in 2007-08 to ensure there was enough water to provide dilution flows to SA in the following irrigation year. A dilution flow releases large amounts of water from dams to improve water quality where there were high levels of salinity and algae. “You’re talking about a fair bit of water here, a lot of water,” Brumby said. “I can’t understand, for the life of me, why they would want to take water from irrigators today … to put aside for what might or might not be required.”

“Outrageous”: Sunraysia Irrigators Council chair Danny Lee said the plan was outrageous because it was doubtful that many irrigators would survive the drought. Irrigators in Victoria’s Murray irrigation system have been ensured only 10 per cent of their water allocations – their lowest ever start to a season.

The Age, 20/9/2007, p. 6

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