NSWIC is of the position that water delivery must operate within the ecosystem and hydrological limits of the physical natural river system.
It is the policy position of NSWIC that river systems must be managed most efficiently to minimise operational losses and maintain reliability and accessibility to all water users, whilst respecting the physical capacity and needs of the river system.
Deliverability refers to the ability for water to be physically delivered to the water user, relating to the channel capacity of river systems and constraints within the system.
Deliverability issues arise as a result of increasing downstream demand (from growing irrigation developments, and large parcels of environmental water delivery), and a declining capacity of the river (siltation, erosion, etc.).
Whilst a state-wide matter, the most prominent example is the deliverability challenges regarding the Barmah-Millewa Choke on the Murray River.
The consequence for irrigation farmers is a risk to both the reliability of water entitlements, and risk to the accessibility of allocations. The risk to reliability is a result of substantial losses in the system reducing the total water balance; and the risk to accessibility is a result of the physical capacity of the system to deliver desired volumes of water.
NSWIC advocates for deliverability challenges to be addressed, based on key principles of ensuring the property rights of water users are protected (water availability, accessibility, and reliability); no negative unmitigated third-party impacts (including for the environment); delivery shortfall risks are to be borne by new developers; be agnostic to (not discriminate between) agricultural industries; seek to minimise operational losses – with delivery of productive water not being overbank; and to recognise and account for the environmental benefits from the delivery of productive water – amongst many others.
NSWIC is of the position that water delivery must operate within the ecosystem and hydrological limits of the physical natural river system. While our rivers are ‘working rivers’, the natural environment must be at all times respected and prioritised in applying a market mechanism.