Editorial by Andrew Gregson

I’ve heard the word “done” a lot in the last few days in reference to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, albeit in a range of contexts. I’ve heard “we’ve been done”, I’ve heard “the Greenies got done” but perhaps most troubling of all I’ve heard “it’s done”. The good news is that we’ve ended up with a Plan drastically better than it might have been, thanks in no small parts to the efforts of community and irrigation leaders who give their time to NSWIC. As the article inside attests, the Plan is a long way from perfect, but a long way from what it might have been. By no means, though, is it “done”. The implementation period lies ahead, and it is in that period that danger lies. During the last four years, we invested a whole lot of resource into ensuring the Plan was a discussion point around the dinner tables of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. We took a rural issue and made it important in urban electorates. That, to a large extent, assisted in softening the impact of the thing. The danger now lies in those  same dinner tables thinking it is “done” whilst we get “done” in the implementations. We need to be on top of – and involved in – Environmental Watering Plans, Water Recovery Strategies, Environmental Works and Measures
programs and countless funding and charging decisions. Each and every one of those has the capacity to turn the Plan on its head and leave us with the sort of outcomes that we don’t want. Now is the time for detail, the time to be vigilant and the time to be well informed. We need to hear from you and you need to hear from us. Thanks for staying in touch. 
M
ake no mistake – water is scarce and there are many competing demands. Ensuring sufficient Productive Water is and will continue to be an ongoing and difficult task. It’s far from done…

Read the full Productive Water Journal from Summer 2013 [HERE]

Editorial by Andrew Gregson

The big issue for irrigators in NSW this quarter is obviously the Basin Plan. This edition of Productive Water has been written prior to it being released (at least formally – there are plenty of leaks about). We did contemplate holding this edition until the release had occurred, but “mid-November” was the best information we could find. We asked “what year?”, but didn’t get an answer…
We have been delighted with the reception that our first edition received. Mailed directly into the hands of around 8,500 irrigators across the State, the Journal proved a talking point for several weeks.
Inside this second edition you’ll find some more detailed pieces examining critical issues for irrigators. Southern Riverina Irrigators Executive Officer – and subject matter expert – Louise Burge provides an analysis of the vexed question of the lower Lakes. Louise has dedicated many, many hours to understanding this complex question and we’re delighted to publicise her work.
The second feature from our Sharing the Knowledge program, written by program coordinator and NSWIC Policy Analyst Mark Moore, is also inside. Whilst you’re reading this, that program will be touring Queensland examining what irrigators in that State are doing and sharing tips, tricks and local knowledge in a series of free forums. In the last edition, we featured interviews with key Federal players Minister Burke and Senator Joyce. In this edition, we move to a State focus with an interview with NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson.
We’re also delighted to be able to bring some coverage to the excellent work undertaken by Austin Evans from Coleambally Irrigation. It has irked NSWIC for some time that environmental lobbyists continue to spruik that “90% of wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin” have gone. We knew it just didn’t ring true – so Austin got to work uncovering where it came from. The fellow to whom it is accredited disowned the figure when Austin was finally able to track it down. Even in the face of the glaring truth, though, environmental lobby groups continue to use it.
Finally, given the Draft Basin Plan, an analysis of its underlying legislation – which we think is the root cause of the problem – is inside.

Read the full Productive Water Journal from Summer 2011 [HERE]