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Archive for the ‘Irrigation’ Category

Increase for high security irrigators in the Murrumbidgee Valley as Snowy Jindabyne release arrives

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Department of Water and Energy, on 2 October 2007 advised High security licence holders within the Murrumbidgee Regulated Water Sharing Plan area were advised of an increase in available water determination (AWD) from 60 per cent to 75 per cent of entitlement.

Town water increased to 70 per cent: The AWD for Stock and Domestic licence holders had also increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of entitlement and town water supplies has been increased to 70 per cent. These improvements were due in part to additional water from the Snowy Mountains Scheme which can now be delivered into the Murrumbidgee, and in part to inflows into Burrinjuck Dam which have receded more slowly than anticipated.

End of monthly allocations of critical survival water: This increase triggered the end of monthly allocations of critical survival water for high security users, however there was currently still not enough water for an allocation to be made for general security users. High security licence holders may carry over up to 15 per cent of their unused entitlement into the 2008/09 season. Recent rain in the region is still well below average. All water users need to remain conservative with water use and encouraged to remain on level 3a water restrictions., Further information relating to the water availability in the Murrumbidgee Valley will be made on the 15th of each month via the Murrumbidgee Critical Water Communiques.
These communiques are available from the Departments website http://www.dnr.nsw.gov.au via Whats New on the homepage.

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Posted in Allocations, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, River Murray, SA, South Australia, Town Water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Blistering heat ahead for Southeastern Australia – October to December 2007

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Government forecast issued 25th September 2007 showed the outlook was for blistering heat across tthe Murray Darling Basin, with the highest heat for South Australia and Victoria. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Drought, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, River Murray, SA, South Australia, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

NSW Murrumbidgee Valley Water Report: 27 September 2007 shows Snowy flow-order saved the day

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The Snowy release to the Murrumbidgee Valley for 2007/2008 was currently less than half of the normal volume. There was little rain fall across the Murrumbidgee Valley in the past 8 weeks and natural inflows into the major storages, Burrinjuck and Blowering dams, have receeded to low levels.
Jindabyne Release Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, Drought, Hydro, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Town Water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Murrumbidgee towns may now ease water restrictions from Level 4 to Level 3a but emergency conditions remain:Water Sharing Plan still disabled

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The NSW Department of Water and Energy, September 2007 Murrumbidgee High and General Security licences will be allowed to carryover up to 15 per cent of entitlement, as was permitted last water year. Carryover for High Security will be permitted until the Water Sharing Plan was reinstated. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

New policy-plan: NSW towns to purchase water on the open market in deal to go level 4 to level 3a, others must plan to truck water, open channels banned

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The NSW Department of Water and Energy, said sufficient water will be provided to all towns to meet demands under Level 4 restrictions. Level 4 restrictions would continue until allocations of at least 20 per cent for high security licences were announced.MBDC flows

New idea: An option was currently being considered that would allow towns to purchase water on the open market if they wish to ease the level of restrictions from level 4 to level 3a. This would be on the basis that towns acquire 20 per cent of the volume to meet level 4 restrictions for that month. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Evaporation, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, New ideas, nsw, Policy, Regulation, Town Water, Trade, Water Markets, Water Trade | Leave a Comment »

National Farmers Federation funded legal action begins; Tasmanian farm­ers to overturn State Gov­ernment’s water management plan

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has added its voice to a dispute over access to irrigation water in the Central Highlands, according to The Mercury (14/9/2007, p. 9).

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Posted in Irrigation, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Murray Darling Armageddon: Ministers agree to drain and block 44 wetlands and build a new weir at Wellington

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Like the Mayan collapse, it appeared the Murray Darling Basin was in armageddon mode. The long-predicted climatic change appeared to have come early. The Declaration by the the three States, was released by the Prime Minister, who under the just-passed Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, 20 September 2007.

44 wetlands to die, with more to come: Plans were listed for the death of 44 wetlands with more to come “Senior officials will continue to review the extent to which further wetland disconnection for the purposes of contingency planning is recommended in the Murray System in 2007-08.

Without precedent: “We are facing a spring and summer on the Murray like no other since Hume Dam was completed in 1936,” Chief Executive Dr Wendy Craik AM said today. “The unprecedented combination of both low storage levels and low inflows will require us to operate outside our normal operating regime.”

The Overview Report to First Ministers said: “Disconnection of regulated wetlands to save water in the system continues in each State”:

• The NSW Government temporarily disconnected one regulated wetland (Tareena Billabong) in June 2007. At Euston Lakes evaporation savings will be achieved via lowering of the weir pool. This will have the same effect as disconnecting these wetlands.

• In South Australia, twenty-seven wetlands were closed in January 2007 and two additional wetlands (Ross and Jaeschke Lagoons) were disconnected in June 2007.

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources determined on 24 August 2007 that the temporary disconnection of a further seven wetlands in South Australia does not need approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (EPBC Act).

• The Murray-Darling Basin Commission has agreed to funding disconnection of six of these wetlands, including the provision of alternative water supplies for existing users;

• The Victorian Government has completed a preliminary assessment of potential wetlands for temporary disconnection.

Temporary weir near Wellington: After a referral by South Australia, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Water Resources has determined that the construction of a temporary weir near Wellington is a controlled action for the purposes of the EPBC Act. The temporary weir is to be assessed at the level of an Environmental Impact Statement. The South Australian Government will make an announcement regarding the weir during September 2007.

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, Project Approvals, River Murray, SA, Victoria, water, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

NSW, Victoria, South Australia policy-makers drought-panic leads to weasel words and tricky accounting

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

States have made a Declaration of emergency which requires to draining of more than 30 wetlands in the Murray Darling Basin to service Town Water and some irrigation. The Prime Minister’s release of the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report, September 2007 showed panic-moves to respond to worst case of a dry Murray Darling system, with water below intakes, and with what water was left – so saline,  as to, poison crops. Each state had moved into last-ditch-measures mode, and tricky accounting was disguised with weasel word as all States agreed to change rules and use bureaucratic-speak to hide the take of the last water in the system – the wetlands and ‘environmental flows’ – needed to keep the river system alive. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Victoria, water, Water Wars, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

April 2008 Murray system disaster forecast; tree deaths, massive fish deaths, as water falls below the intake-pipes

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Water-levels below Lock 1 were projected to fall from their current level of 0.25m Australian Height Datum (AHD), to negative 0.6m AHD in April 2008. Under these projected conditions, massive fish death in the Lower Lakes is more likely. For the worst case scenario, water levels will continue to fall, reaching negative 1.5m AHD in the latter half of 2008. Salinity would rise and make what small irrigation water which was available, poisonous to crops and trees.

MDB levels

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Deforestation, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Extinctions, Fauna, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Plantation forestry, South Australia, Uncategorized, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

Consultations on Chaffrey Dam enlargement have taken six months: time for a decision, says NSW local MP

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Independent Federal MP Tony Windsor catalogued a list of contacts made with Federal legislators by local politicians to advance the enlargement of the Chaffey Dam, after Environment and Water Resources Minister Malcolm Turnbull professed ignorance of the matter, in the Federal Parliament on 9 August 2007.

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Posted in australia, Dams, Irrigation, nsw, Policy, Town Water, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Resource conflict in NSW; Federal contribution sought for Chaffey Dam enlargement proposal

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Conflict was emerging over the existence of 500 million tonnes of coal and vast quantities of groundwater on the Liverpool plains, said Independent MP Tony Windsor in the Federal Parliament on 13 August 2007.

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Posted in agriculture, algae, Coal mines, Dams, Irrigation, nsw, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Vox pop: Gardens take miniscule amounts of Murray water but contribute significantly to economy

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

South Australia receives 8 per cent of the Murray/Darling inflows, of which Adelaide uses on average 130 gigalitres for industry, commerce, business and community, houses and gardens, according to John Calder, Hallet Cove, in a letter to the editor of The Advertiser (17/9/2007, p. 17). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, Conservation, Consumption, Domestic, Irrigation, mdb, Public Opinion, River Murray, SA, water, Water Markets, Water Trade, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Compulsory water entitlement reductions under clause 77 of Water Bill allows de facto compulsory acquisition: Labor MP

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

The possibility that the long-term average sustainable water diversion limit or cap would have to be reduced meant that there would be compulsory water entitlement reductions under clause 77 of the Water Bill 2007, said Labor’s Anthony Albanese in the Federal Parliament on 14 August 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, australia, Drought, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, Water Markets, Water Trade, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Snowy 2007/2008 release to the Murrumbidgee half normal volume

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

The Snowy release to the Murrumbidgee Valley for 2007/2008 was less than half of the normal volume. “In a typical year, releases from Snowy Hydro are suffcient to ensure full allocations to all towns and High Security users. “The Department of Water and Energy continues to meet regularly with the critical water advisory group to discuss water supply strategies and options for the remainder of 2007/2008 and for 2008/2009”.
Department of Water and Energy: Bunty Driver t 03 58983900

Posted in Allocations, Drought, Irrigation, Policy, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Snowy sells more water to Murrumbidgee Irrigators on credit, despite non-payment of 2002/2004 bill

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

“Snowy Hydro is pleased to confirm.. that the NSW Department of Water and Energy has endorsed a proposal from Snowy Hydro and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited that will see Murrumbidgee irrigators being able to use the 5pc of allocation water that had been suspended last year and reinstated in August 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, Irrigation, nsw, Water Markets, Water Trade, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

$300/ML compo to 900 irrigators in seven NSW ground-water zones for cuts to water they got for free, in the first place: but irrigators to sue, for more

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

About $118 million in financial assistance will start flowing to about 900 NSW irrigation licence holders, while a further $7 million will be offered to Lower Lachlan Valley groundwater licence hold­ers once the region’s water shar­ing plan has been finalised. Groundwater users group chair Greg Sandford, of “Noorumboon”, Deniliquin, said irrigators initially were told cuts to water entitlements would occur “across the board”, and it was only when the ASGE scheme was announced in 2005 they learned payouts would be based on history-of-use instead. Sandford said irrigators were losing about 168,000 megal­itres of water entitlement but only about 20,000ML would be covered by ASGE payments at about $300/ML, wrote Alan Dick in The Land, 13/9/2007, p. 25. The rest will not get any money at all,” he said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Irrigation, nsw, Policy, Price, Water Markets, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Agflation: Grain prices to rattle beef, dairy, pork, eggs and chicken: “disaster unprecedented in Australian history” predicts Horticulture Coun­cil chief

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

It’s called agflation and it’s coming very soon, propelled by climate change and drought. Grain prices have hit record levels, and those prices will ram­ify through the feed chain —beef, dairy, pork, eggs and chicken — and reach consumers. Australian Horticulture Coun­cil chief executive Kris Newton says the severe cutback in irriga­tion water could result in price rises, as seen with bananas after Cyclone Larry, reported Asa Wahlquist in The Australian, (15/9/2007, p. 33).

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Posted in agriculture, Drought, Emergency, Energy, Grains, Irrigation, Price, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Tasmania’s Hydro-Electric Commission must supply unknown quantity of water to unknown number of irrigators along Ouse and Lake rivers

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

Riparian land-holders on the Lake River below Woods Lake and the Ouse River below Waddamana had a statutory right to take water for irrigation under the Electricity Supply Industry Restructuring (Savings and Transitional Provisions) Act 1995 and therefore did not require a water licence under the Water Management Act 1999, said Doug Parkinson, Leader of the Government in the Council, in the Tasmanian Legislative Council on 30 August 2007.

Fifty year old agreement still honoured: “When the Poatina power development was approved in 1957,” Parkinson said, “one of the mitigating actions negotiated for diverting the water in Great Lake to the north was a statutory obligation on the Hydro-Electric Commission to make water available to riparian irrigators along the Ouse and Lake rivers. These obligations were carried over at corporatisation of the Hydro-Electric Commission.”

Legislation cited: According to Parkinson the current statutory requirement was the Electricity Supply Industry Restructuring (Savings and Transitional Provisions) Act 1995 Division 2, the Lake River and River Ouse, Section 16(1), which laid down that owners of land within boundaries specified in the section had to be provided with “water reasonably required for the irrigation of that land from the beds of the Lake River and the River Ouse and the channels of the Lawrenny Irrigation Works that have continued in existence since 1 November 1957 or earlier”.

Boundaries defined: The land defined in the legislation was:

• the area of land in the Parish of Lawrenny, County of Cumberland, bounded … on the south-west by the River Derwent from its confluence with the River Ouse to its confluence with the River Clyde thence on the east by the River Clyde in a general northerly direction to the Lyell Highway thence on the north-east in a general north-westerly direction by that highway to the River Ouse and thence on the west by the River Ouse in a general southerly direction to the point of commencement; and

• the riparian tenements situated on the Lake River and the River Ouse below Waddamana.

Number and capacity of pumps only limit: “Under the terms of the original Loan (Hydro-Electric Commission) Act 1957, Hydro Tasmania is required to maintain Lake and Ouse river flows for reasonable irrigation,” Parkinson said. “In practical terms, irrigators who are covered by the act were only limited by their ability to remove water from the river – that is, the number and capacity of their pumps. As water licences are not required it is not known exactly how many irrigators are extracting water from the Lake and Ouse rivers and in what quantities. In addition, not all landowners on the Lake and Ouse rivers extract a similar volume of water for irrigation purposes each year due to variations in farming practices.”

Reference: Doug Parkinson, Leader of the Government in the Council, Member for Wellington, Legislative Council, Parliament of Tasmania, Tasmania, 30 August 2007.

Posted in Energy, Hydro, Irrigation, Law, Policy, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Victoria Latrobe Valley power stations water buyers for a second year after from Blue Rock irrigators after low inflows, sabotaged allocations

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The Latrobe Valley power stations supply 85 per cent of Victoria’s electricity and use about 140 billion litres of water a year. They receive an annual allocation from Blue Rock dam under an agreement with the State Government. But the water crisis has hit Victoria’s power sector hard over the past financial year. Two major Latrobe generators – Yallourn and Loy Yang B- bought emergency supplies over the internet from Blue Rock irrigators because low inflows sabotaged their allocations. In June, The Age revealed that the power stations were investigating alternatives. A State Government-commissioned study explored options including on-site desalination plants and dry cooling systems, reported The Age, (10/9/2007), p. 4.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, Dams, desalination, Emergency, Irrigation, Price, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Federal Government considers buying the eight gigalitres to be auctioned on the Warrego

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

The results of the CSIRO survey into the Warrego River, the first of a series on the basin, was alarming because it suggested that more developed river systems, like the Condamine-Balonne, will face serious problems, according to Asa Wahlquist in The Australian (8/9/2007, p.5).

Water extraction to be halved: By 2030, climate change and water use will see a 7 per cent reduction in the amount of water that flows out of the Warrego, in southwest Queensland, into the Darling. Water extraction would have to be halved on the second-least developed river in the basin for the Warrego’s water-sharing plan, which specifies 89 per cent of its flows should reach the Darling.

Less than 12GL of private water storage along Warrego: The Murray-Darling Basin Commission reports there is less than 12 gigalitres (billion litres) of private water storage built along the Warrego, compared with 1333GL on the Condamine-Balonne. In 2005-06, 25GL passed through Cunnamulla on the Warrego, while the total flow through St George, on the Balonne, was 123GL.

CSIRO report result of Water Summit: The CSIRO report includes the eight gigalitres of Warrego water that the Queensland Government intends auctioning off. The report was commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Water Summit last November and is the most comprehensive report of its kind undertaken by the organisation. The CSIRO assessed current water use, including the interaction between ground-water and surface water. It also estimated future water use, looking at the impact of climate change and future developments like plantations and farm dams that would reduce stream flow.

Climate models variation: Dr Hatton said the best estimate of the impact of climate change on the Warrego was that it would reduce river flows by 6 per cent in 2030, leading to 7 per cent less water flowing into the Darling River. “It is important to appreciate there is variation among the climate models.” He said the hydrology of the 137,000-hectare Yantabulla swamp, and the water holes along the Warrego had not been affected by current development.

Lowest inflow on record last year: Last year, inflows into the Murray were the lowest on record, just 1211GL, far below the average of 11,100GL Assistant federal Environment and Water Resources Minister John Cobb said the report “underlines the incredible variability of the system”. He said the federal Government was considering buying the eight gigalitres to be auctioned on the Warrego.

Posted in Allocations, Auction, Climate, Irrigation, Law, mdb, nsw, Price, qld, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

South Australia cuts forecast for total grain production this harvest by 21pc; wheat hits record $US8.49/bushel on CBOT

Posted by waterweek on 14 September 2007

South Australia had cut its forecast for total grain production this harvest by 21 per cent, helping push global wheat prices to a record, reported The Age (7/9/2007, p. B3).

Wheat prices double: The state might produce 5.5 million tonnes of all grains this harvest, down from an estimate of 6.98 million tonnes last month, Rural Solutions SA said in its latest crop report. Wheat prices had more than doubled in the past year as global demand outpaced supply and stockpiles shrank.

Crops dying: Two months of below-average rain and warmer than average weather have prompted reductions to forecasts. “Significant rainfall is needed immediately to stabilise crop yield potential at current levels,” Rural Solutions SA said in the report on its website. “In the driest areas on Eyre Peninsula and the upper north, crops are dying off and will not recover, while other crops have been grazed or cut for hay if they have sufficient bulk.”

Production down more than a fifth: Wheat futures for December delivery rose to a record $US8.49 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on 6 September. South Australia might produce 2.58 million tonnes of wheat, down 24 per cent from the previous forecast, the agency said. Output of barley might be 1.9 million tonnes, 21 per cent lower than the estimate of 2.4 million tonnes a month ear­lier. South Australia was the country’s largest barley growing state.

The Age, 7/9/2007, p. B3

Posted in agriculture, Drought, Grains, Irrigation, SA, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »