AWA - Water Sector News

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‘Snippetts Plus’

January 2010

49.11.

12
th

AWA
-

Water Sector News

1.

Data collected by the Bureau of Meteorology indicate that Australia's annual mean temperature for 2009 was 0.9C
above the 1961
-
90 average, making it the nation's second warmest year since high
-
quality records began in 1910. High
TEMPERATURES were especial
ly notable in the southeast with Australia, Victoria, South Australia and NSW all
recording their warmest July
-
December periods on record. Despite the long dry, several short
-
term flood events
occurred in eastern Australia in 2009.

2.

Although most irriga
tors remained affected by the drought and lower than normal water allocations, there was
overall improvement in average financial performance in 2007
-
08, according to ABARE's latest report on irrigators'
incomes in the Murray
-
Darling Basin
An economic surv
ey of irrigation farms in the Murray
-
Darling Basin: industry
overview and region profiles 2007
-
08.


3.

The NSW Government has predicted 300 gigalitres would flow into M
enindee

L
akes

near Broken Hill as a result of
recent heavy rainfall. National agreements

give NSW control over allocation until storages reach 640 gigalitres and at
this point, the Murray
-
Darling Basin Authority assumes responsibility.

4.

The
rains

that have drenched and flooded parts of northern NSW have encouraged cotton growers to plant
c
rops and
to pump water to on
-
farm storages


maybe seemingly unfair but legal
-

but also prompted renewal of calls from SA
Premier Rann for more equitable sharing of Murray Darling River water with other states nearer the river mouth.

5.

Queensland Urban
Utilities is now supplying
B
risbane

residents and businesses with their water and wastewater
services, a role formerly undertaken by Brisbane City Council's Water Retail and Water Distribution business units
after a government restructure of the industry.
From July 2010, the new water business will be owned by the five south
east Queensland councils of Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset.

6.

A recent decision by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) supported

the importance of
catchment areas to the management of drinking water quality and found in favour of Western Water in not approving a
land subdivision that had been sought. The decision notes that the precautionary principle and cumulative risk issues
out
lined in the Australian Drinking Water
Guidelines

need to be taken into account when looking at land use planning
issues in drinking water catchments.

7.

Despite a very dry start to summer, and a rapid drop in November, water levels in the GNANGARA mound
have
steadied and the regular annual decline at this time of year is now underway. The Acting Director General for WA
Department of Water encouraged locals to continue to observe water

wise behavio
u
r especially until normal rainfall
resumed.

8.

SA Minister for the River Murray Karlene Maywald has announced that
irrigation allocations

will remain at 48%
due to low inflows across the Murray
-
Darling Basin with hot and dry conditions continuing across the catchment
during November and December.

9.

Federal Environment, Heritage and the Arts Minister Peter Garrett has announced that the N
ingaloo

Coast had been
nominated for World Heritage listing with the support of the WA government. The nomination is for an area of
710,000ha and includes Ningaloo Re
ef, Cape Range, a coastal strip extending about 260km south to Red Bluff, as well
as adjacent dunefields, marine areas and islands.

10.

Rehabilitation works conducted by State Water (NSW) on the W
akool

River west of Deniliquin have brought
water to a 15km

stretch of riverbed that has been dry for three years. The works on 1.5km of river will increase water
efficiency and result in more reliable long term supply for all customers.

11.

Pollution caused by a D
iesel

spill in Weihe River, a tributary of the Ye
llow River, is said to have been effectively
contained within Sanmenxia reservoir which supplies over 2.4 million people in Henan province. Petroleum levels are
reported to be declining and the Xiaolangdi Reservoir, 130 km downstream from Sanmenxia, is not

polluted.


News Clippings

1.

AGL has threatened not to invest in renewable energy
-

except for the new wind farms which AGK is contracted to
build to supply power to the Wonthaggi (Vic) and Port Stanvac (SA) desalination plants
-

until the Commonwealth
Go
vernment addresses a collapse in the price of renewable energy certificates designed to encourage investment to
achieve the target of 20 per cent of power from renewable sources by 2020.

2.
The Editorial in the Weekend Australia states that the Federal Go
vernment plan to buy $3 billion buying water
entitlements issued by the states is already being undermined by premiers, the value of whose promises on water
reform is less negligible than nonexistent.


3.
Congratulations are due because exceptional water c
onservation efforts of Adelaide residents have helped keep
water consumption in 2009 below the target for enhanced level three water restrictions.

4.

Flooding in the eastern states will inject about 300 billion litres of water into the Murray
-
Darling riv
er system.
However, NSW has been warned against "hogging the lot" by retaining it in the NSW river system. SA Independent
Senator Xenophon has asked the Federal Government to intervene.


2

5.
Flood waters are raging through Central Australia giving reside
nts of Alice Springs a rare site of the Todd River in
flow.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100109002310.htm

Coral Can Recover from Climate Change Damage, New Resea
rch Suggests

Professor Peter Mumby

A study by the University of Exeter provides the first evidence that coral reefs can recover from the
devastating effects of climate change. Published Jan. 11, 2010 in the journal
PLoS ONE
, the research shows
for the
first time that coral reefs located in marine reserves can recover from the impacts of global warming.

Scientists and environmentalists have warned that coral reefs may not be able to recover from the damage
caused by climate change and that these unique e
nvironments could soon be lost forever. Now, this research
adds weight to the argument that reducing levels of fishing is a viable way of protecting the world's most
delicate aquatic ecosystems.

Increases in ocean surface water temperatures subject coral r
eefs to stresses that lead quickly to mass
bleaching. The problem is intensified by ocean acidification, which is also caused by increased CO
2
. This
decreases the ability of corals to produce calcium carbonate (chalk), which is the material that reefs are
made
of.

Approximately 2% of the world's coral reefs are located within marine reserves, areas of the sea that are
protected against potentially
-
damaging human activity, like dredging and fishing.

The researchers conducted surveys of ten sites inside and o
utside marine reserves of the Bahamas over 2.5
years. These reefs have been severely damaged by bleaching and then by hurricane Frances in the summer of
2004. At the beginning of the study, the reefs had an average of 7% coral cover. By the end of the proj
ect,
coral cover in marine protected areas had increased by an average of 19%, while reefs in non
-
reserve sites
showed no recovery.

Professor Peter Mumby of the University of Exeter said: "Coral reefs are the largest living structures on
Earth and are home

to the highest biodiversity on the planet. As a result of climate change, the environment
that has enabled coral reefs to thrive for hundreds of thousands of years is changing too quickly for reefs to
adapt.

"In order to protect reefs in the long
-
term we
need radical action to reduce CO
2

emissions. However, our
research shows that local action to reduce the effects of fishing can contribute meaningfully to the fate of
reefs. The reserve allowed the number of parrotfishes to increase and because parrotfish
eat seaweeds, the
corals could grow freely without being swamped by weeds. As a result, reefs inside the park were showing
recovery whereas those with more seaweed were not. This sort of evidence may help persuade governments
to reduce the fishing of key h
erbivores like parrotfishes and help reefs cope with the inevitable threats posed
by climate change."

Professor Mumby's research was funded by National Environment Research Council (NERC) and the
Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

Reef facts



A cor
al reef is made up of thin layers of calcium carbonate (limestone) secreted over thousands of years by
billions of tiny soft bodied animals called coral polyps.



Coral reefs are the world's most diverse marine ecosystems and are home to twenty
-
five percent
of known
marine species, including 4,000 species of fish, 700 species of coral and thousands of other plants and
animals.



Coral reefs have been on the planet for over 400 million years.



The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches alon
g the northeast coast of Australia, from the
northern tip of Queensland, to just north of Bundaberg. At 2,300km long, it is the largest natural feature on Earth.



Coral reefs occupy less than one quarter of one percent of the Earth's marine environment, yet

they are home to more
than a quarter of all known fish species.

As well as supporting huge tourist industries, coral reefs protect shorelines from erosion and storm damage.

High quality reef videos by Professor Peter Mumby can be viewed at:
www.reefvid.org

http://theland.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness
-
and
-
general/general/south
-
australia
-
should
-
honour
-
water
-
agreement
-
nsw
-
farmers/1721898.aspx

South Australia should hon
our water agreement: NSW Farmers

T
he

NSW Farmers’ Association is questioning the South Australian Government’s demands for a share of the NSW
flood waters. According to NSW Farmers’ Association water spokesman, John Ward, the demands contravene the
existing water sharing agreement signed by
the South Australian Government.


3

“The Murray
-
Darling Basin Agreement, which has been signed by all States, including South Australia, was put in
place to ensure all States receive a fair and equitable share of Murray
-
Darling Basin water,” Mr
.

Ward said
. “This is
the first major rain event in Northern NSW for many years and South Australia must not view every rain event as an
opportunity to call for more water for their State and must honour the current agreement that is in place.” According to
Mr.

Ward,

such demands from South Australia are unreasonable given the disparate water allocations for farmers in
NSW and South Australia. “Licensed general security users of Murray River water in South Australia are currently
able to use 48 per cent of their alloc
ations. “Meanwhile, here in NSW, Lachlan Valley general security users have had
zero general security allocations for the past three years. “And our Murray Valley general security irrigators have had
zero allocation for the past two years and have only rec
ently been upgraded to 10pc.

“These demands are not only inappropriate, they are also unviable. “This flood event has occurred in Northern NSW
and not in the Murrumbidgee and Murray Valleys. Getting water down to South Australia via the Menindee Lakes is
highly inefficient and is unlikely to be of any benefit to South Australia,” Mr
.

Ward said. The Association has
welcomed the NSW Government’s commitment to adhere to the existing sharing agreement.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/12/2790134.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail

Abbott sets sights on Wild Rivers Act

Federal
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will today launch a campaign to override a controversial Queensland
Government law that prevents development along rivers in the state's north.

The Queensland Government says it
introduced the Wild Rivers Act to prevent rivers

on the Cape York Peninsula being damaged by farming and tourism.

Mr
.

Abbott says he will introduce a private members bill into Federal Parliament to overturn the state law.

He has told
ABC Radio's AM program the Wild Rivers Act is unfair on Aboriginal peo
ple living in the region.

"It's about locking up the land in ways which deny Aboriginal people their legitimate right to use it for their own
benefit," he said.

Mr
.

Abbott says he has obtained legal advice that suggests the Commonwealth could override the
state law.

"I have got the parliamentary clerk and my distinguished party colleagues learned in the law looking at this
matter," he said.

"My intention is to bring a private members bill before the Parliament when it resumes in early
February."

http://sj.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness
-
and
-
general/general/expand
-
environmental
-
s
tewardship
-
payments
-
nff/1721994.aspx?src=enews

Expand environmental stewardship payments: NFF

In marking the launch of the 'International Year of Biodiversity, the National Farmers' Federation is calling for an
expansion of the Federal Governments environmental stewardship payments for farmers. The NFF says biodiversity
and agriculture are interdep
endent and both are pivotal in addressing looming climate change and food security
pressures. But the challenge before the Government is striking the right balance between biodiversity and ensuring that
farmers are able to increase food production by the 7
0 per cent needed by 2050 to feed a projected world population of
nine billion people. NFF president David Crombie said the environmental stewardship program, which is currently in
Phase One, has been "overwhelming embraced by farmers over the past two yea
rs".

"In fact, under the 2010 Federal Budget, we are calling on the Rudd Government to expand the Environmental
Stewardship program to cover all endangered species and ecological systems listed under the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservatio
n Act," Mr. Crombie said. "Farmers are Australia’s frontline in dealing positively and
proactively in managing environmental needs
.”
Farm
-
gate environmental management is two
-
pronged. Firstly, sound
natural resource management drives effective and efficient

farm techniques, making farming viable and sustainable.

"Increasingly, environmentally
-
friendly practices are generating long
-
term profitability, improved drought resistance
and making our resources more sustainable
.”
Secondly, beyond the business, farmer
s are often required (by various
local, state and federal laws) to lock
-
up large sections of their properties to preserve native vegetation… essentially
having stewardship of those natural resources on behalf of all Australians.

"However, as a consequence
, farmers lose the productive capacity of those areas from their properties, while incurring
ongoing costs to conserve and protect the land, including pest and weed management and maintaining green corridors
for wildlife conservation."
Mr.

Crombie said far
mers need help when taking extra responsibility for environmental
management. "Expanding the Environmental Stewardship program would recognise that farmers have been improving
environmental sustainability on
-
farm and taking greater responsibility for ecolo
gical land management


delivering
positive outcomes for farms, the community and the environment."

'Fair Water Use Australia


Last month, Fair Water Use contacted the Chairman of the Murray
-
Darling Basin Authority, Mr Mike Taylor, urging
him to clarify t
he priorities of the Authority.

It appears that the advice was heeded.

In a statement received yesterday
(11th January), Mr Taylor has affirmed that the Authority is legally obliged to place the health of the river system
ahead of all other considerations.

This news should be applauded loudly. It is now generally understood that if the
ecological decline of the Basin is not reversed, a bleak future awaits all who wish to utilise its waters.

Australians now
seek confirmation that the MDBA is walking
-
the
-
walk
: A highly significant first step would be for it to do all possible
to ensure that the entire system reaps the environmental benefits of the inundations that have blessed much of its
northern headwaters.

4

If Mr Taylor feels he is unable to achieve such
an outcome, then the Commonwealth must be encouraged to invoke
urgent legislation to enable him to do so
-

now and in the future. Failing that, the Authority should be put out to
pasture, as was its predecessor, and a new, entirely independent body establ
ished; one invested with the powers to
enable it to truly act as the guardian of the Murray
-
Darling.

Should a declaration of a state of emergency be able to
facilitate these changes, then the Federal Government should be aware that resistance to such a mov
e has collapsed in
recent months: it could well be a very sound and defining decision in this election year.

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking
-
news
-
national/federal
-
states
-
urged
-
to
-
act
-
on
-
murray
-
20100112
-
m3jo.html

Federal, states urged to act on Murray

The
federal government hopes the NSW government will release emergency floodwater downstream but says it's too
soon to guarantee there will be any water to share.

Extensive rainfall in NSW does not guarantee South Australia will
see any of the flows under curr
ent water
-
sharing rules.

The current arrangements mean the water flowing into the
Menindee Lakes in western NSW will be released to flow down the Darling River and into the Murray River only if
the storage level exceeds 640 gigalitres.

Federal Water Minist
er Penny Wong said in Adelaide on Tuesday it was up to NSW to release the water to South
Australia.

"I think it is too early to tell how much will get to Menindee, how much will be stored, and therefore how
much will come downstream," Senator Wong told rep
orters.

"If there is water available we would hope that NSW
would exercise its discretion fairly."

The opposition's Murray
-
Darling spokesman Simon Birmingham says the three
governments must give the in
-
principle agreement on the sharing of floodwaters on T
uesday ahead of a basin officials'
committee meeting on Wednesday.

"We don't want the NSW representatives to go into that meeting and simply argue a NSW
-
centric approach," he told
AAP.

"It's the NSW government that has all the cards and... Premier Keneally

needs to show her hand today (ahead of
the meeting)."

Senator Wong said the government was happy to facilitate discussions between the two states should
South Australia come forward with a proposal.

"If South Australia comes forward with specific proposal
s we're willing to facilitate that discussion and we would
certainly be looking to NSW to exercise its discretion fairly recognising the needs of the downstream states," she said.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/state
-
canberra
-
at
-
odds
-
on
-
water
-
priority
-
2
0100111
-
m2ok.html?autostart=1

State,
Canberra at odds on water priority

V
icto
r
ia’s

Goulburn and Murray districts have been identified as ''high priority'' regions for returning water to the
environment, just weeks before the north
-
south pipeline takes water away from those areas to Melbourne.

Farmers in
the districts, along with those in the Campaspe, Kiewa and Loddon regions, were nominated by the Federal
Government as the latest focus of the $3.1 billion buyback of irrigation water for the Murray
-
Darling river system.

The Government opened
the new round of buybacks yesterday, as part of Canberra's staggered outlay on returning
flows and environmental health to the river system.

On releasing the tender, Canberra discouraged farmers in other
Victorian districts
-

including the Ovens, Wimmera
-
M
allee, Broken and Avoca
-

from applying, because it wants water
from specific ''high priority'' regions, such as the Goulburn and Murray.

This preference was explained because of the ''number and significance of environmental assets within these
catchments

that need watering, or are expected to need watering in the future''.

Environmental assets in the region
include the significant red gum community at Gunbower, which the Victorian Government recently protected within a
new national park.

Canberra consider
s water from those districts to be more reliable and easier to transport than water
from the discouraged districts.

The rush to get water back into the Goulburn and Murray regions sits awkwardly next
to the Brumby Government's plan to take water out of tho
se districts through the north
-
south pipeline.

The pipe is
promised to carry 75 billion litres to Melbourne before December 31, and is expected to take its first water to
Sugarloaf reservoir in coming weeks.


The Government has defended the pipe on the gro
unds it will take only a third of water saved in the food bowl
modernisation project, with equal portions going to the environment and farmers. But different arrangements are in
place for 2010, when much of the guaranteed 75 billion litres for Melbourne wi
ll not come from the food bowl project,
but from various sources in northern Victoria.

Farmers and the environment will not get a matching 75 billion litres in
2010, and it is likely to be several years before the food bowl project is finished and deliveri
ng significant amounts of
water to farmers and rivers.

Environment Victoria spokeswoman Kelly O'Shanassy said it was ironic Canberra had noticed the plight of the
Goulburn river yet Victoria was about to pump more water out of it.

The State Government decl
ined to comment
yesterday.

Despite fears Victorian water rules would prevent the Commonwealth from buying back local water, a deal
struck last year is allowing Canberra to breach purchasing limits in certain regions deemed unsuitable for long
-
term
irrigati
on.

http://www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au/news/local/news/general/floodwaters
-
unlikely
-
to
-
reach
-
the
-
lower
-
murray/1723129.aspx?src=enews

Floodwaters unlikely to reach the Lower Murray

W
ater

flowing into the Murray
-
Darling Basin after floods in Ne
w South Wales and Queensland is unlikely to impact
the ailing Lower Murray.

5

The last estimate from the NSW Office of Water indicated about 500 gigalitres would flow into the basin but there was
no way to know how much will reach the Menindee Lakes. A spokesman for the department said water would be lost
to seepage and evaporation
as it flowed down the parched Darling River and spilled onto the cracked dusty floodplains
along the way, making it impossible to know how much would reach the large storage near Broken Hill.

The decision to release water below Menindee will rest with the

NSW Government until the lakes reach 640 gigalitres,
at which stage the decision moves to the Murray
-
Darling Basin Authority. On December 23, the Menindee Lakes held
144GL with NSW controlling the water when the storage falls below 480GL. South Australian

Water Minister Karlene
Maywald said she was furious the State would not receive any of the floodwaters. “There will be some significant
flows, where they end up will be the subject of much discussion over the next couple of weeks where South Australia
wil
l be very strongly participating in
those discussions

in the interests of South Australia,” she said.

The floods are also unlikely to relieve the risk of riverbank collapse in the Murray Bridge area. Department of Water,
Land and Biodiversity Conservation

riverbank collapse hazard program leader Richard Brown said the only cure for
collapsing banks was higher river levels. “The river is running, at the moment, about a metre and a half lower than
we’d like,” he said.
Mr.

Brown said later this month and earl
y next month would be the most dangerous period for
riverbank slumps. But with it likely to take up to 50 days for water from the basin’s northernmost to reach Murray
Bridge, any flow would arrive too late to lessen the risk of

riverbank collapse.

http://
www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/12/2790202.htm

Drought

worsens in NSW despite floods

The drought has increased by 1 per cent across New South Wales, despite heavy rains across parts of the state in recent
weeks.

More than 95 per cent of the state is considered to be either fully or marginally in drought.

The Minister for
Primary Industries

and Rural Affairs, Steve Whan, says rain in December in central and northern areas was welcome,
but it came too late to improve the January figures.

He says some areas like Coonamble and Walgett are still in drought
despite being flooded.

"The December dr
ought figures do show an increase in the areas of the state which are impacted by drought so now
over 81
-
percent," he said. "Hume and New England have had parts of those areas move into drought and only 4.4 per
cent of the state is satisfactory and that sa
tisfactory area is basically the coastal strip and the mid north and north coasts
of NSW."

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/floodwaters
-
fail
-
to
-
stop
-
droughts
-
creep
-
across
-
state
-
20100111
-
m2s6.html

Floodwaters fail to stop
drought's

creep across state

Roads remain submerged in floodwater, ghostly
rivers have risen from the dead, paddocks are a sea of green, and
mosquitoes are breeding like it's the tropics. Welcome to the drought, NSW style.

Despite a surge of devastating
floodwaters through parts of the west and central west since Christmas, droug
ht crept across a further 1 per cent of the
state last month, taking its claim to 81.8 per cent at the beginning of the year.

State Government figures to be released
today show 95 per cent of the state is officially, or marginally, in drought.

Coonamble, w
here residents were evacuated from their homes just a week ago to escape floods, is firmly in drought
territory.

The Mayor, Tim Horan, said the green pastures were an illusion: ''People refer to it as the green drought.
We're green on top but we've still g
ot the drought underneath.''

It would be at least another 12 months before farmers in
the region could begin to turn the tide on seven dry years, he said.

''We're definitely on our way but we still need a
good year.''

Parts of Hume and New England were mov
ed into the official drought
-
affected areas after December. Only 4.4 per
cent of NSW is considered satisfactory this month, the same as in December.

"While late December welcomed some of
the best rain seen for many years across the central and northern are
as of the state, it came too late to improve the
January figures and has not yet been enough to turn around this devastating drought," the Minister for Primary
Industries and Rural Affairs, Steve Whan, said.

''The recent rainfall events occur against a bac
kdrop of decade
-
long rainfall deficits and record high temperatures that
have severely stressed water supplies.''

The total NSW water storage level dropped 2.7 per cent from last month and
now stands at 26.6 per cent of capacity, 1.2 per cent lower than th
e same time last year, he said.

NSW is bracing for
catastrophic fire conditions today, with eight of the state's 21 fire regions declaring total fire bans.

Yesterday, residents in the northern, southern and eastern Riverina and south
-
western areas of the s
tate were given the
''code red'' warning of uncontrollable and potentially dangerous fires and told to make plans for fire in their area.

The
Rural Fire Service commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, said residents should brace for similar conditions to those se
en
in Victoria and South Australia yesterday
-

temperatures above 40 degrees, low humidity and strong, gusty winds.

Victoria faced its first day of catastrophic fire conditions yesterday as temperatures nudged 45 degrees in Geelong and
Melbourne's western
suburbs.

South Australia also sweltered through catastrophic conditions in 10 of its 15 fire districts.

Victoria's hot spell is
expected to continue today, but South Australia was forecast to cool down last night.

The extreme heat took its toll on
the
Melbourne rail network, with commuters facing cancellations on all but three lines. Temperatures reached 43.6
degrees in Melbourne and 44.9 at Geelong airport.

The Victorian Country Fire Authority and Department of
Sustainability and Environment dealt with

more than 10 fires, but all were small and under control.

6

Firefighters in South Australia also survived the catastrophic day without major damage.

Temperatures reached 42.8
degrees in Adelaide and 44.8 in the city's north.

Today in NSW, the southern ran
ges, Monaro, lower central west
plains, southern slopes, eastern, northern and southern Riverina and south western regions have total fire bans.
Sydney's western suburbs are tipped to reach 39 degrees, and the city 31 degrees.

The senior forecaster at the
bureau,
Peter Zmijewski, said a cool change would come through NSW on Thursday and Friday.

……………………………………………………………

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/libr
ary/news/2010/01/mil
-
100111
-
irin02.htm

SUDAN:
Drought
, insecurity

hurting food production in South

In Western Equatoria, where Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels have disrupted livelihoods, the maize yield was 10 to 15
bags of 50kg per feddan (roughly 0.42ha) in central counties. In the
drought
-
affected eastern and western areas,
...

…………………………………………………………….

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/12/2790546.htm

Melburnians slash water use through the 2000s

The State
Government says Melb
o
urnians have cut their water use by about 40 per cent over the past decade.

Water
users are, on average, consuming just three
-
fifths of what they did in the 1990s.

Figures released today by Melbourne
Water also show less water flowed i
nto Melbourne's dams over the past ten years than in any other decade on record.

The Water Minister, Tim Holding, says Melbourne water users have rallied in the tough conditions.

"Our city has expanded by more than 700 000 people over the last ten years, b
ut we are using hundreds of billions of
litres of water less over the course of the last decade than we used in the previous decade,"
Mr.

Holding said. "So that's
a dramatic improvement."

The State Government says it will maintain the Target 155 water
-
savi
ng campaign, despite
the long
-
term reduction in water use.

http://www.sheppnews.com.au/news_1134430.aspx

Traditional farms likely to feel the heat

Small, traditional dairy farms might not be profitable under
a medium climate change scenario in the lower Murray
-
Darling Basin, a preliminary report to Dairy Australia has found. The report, drawing on several reports and desktop
modeling
, was compiled for Dairy Australia's inquiry into dairying in the basin.
Model
ing

run by the DPI indicated
that small farms with traditional pasture
-
based systems and grain fed in the dairy would not be profitable under a
medium climate change scenario.

``Variations in milk prices and in irrigation water allocations between years w
ere key determinants of this finding, and
illustrate the potential problems of steady state analysis,'' the report compiled by Peter Doyle, Ian Gibb and Christie Ho
found. The group was asked to look at options for farmers in responding to water allocation
s. The
modeling

indicated
only the best performing small farms would be likely to be profitable in the medium term. Preliminary
modeling

by
University of Melbourne suggested that well
-
managed double cropping systems to increase home
-
grown feed
production a
nd water use efficiency could improve profitability.

In one model, based on a small farm of 47 ha with a 165
-
cow herd, the study found the farm would not be viable even
with increased per cow production in a medium climate change scenario. The medium clim
ate change scenario is less
severe than what has occurred in the past decade. Even changing to a partial mixed ration system did not enable the
farm to counteract the effects of medium climate change; and, doubling the size of the case study farm did not g
ive any
benefits of economy of size. The authors pointed out that there was a general expectation that dairy farm businesses
should exhibit economies of size.

``The evidence suggests that while economies of size exist, they are smaller than for other agri
cultural commodities.''

The authors point to a DPI paper that found that the top 20 per cent of Victorian dairy farms accounted for 44 per cent
of output, while the typical figure for most agricultural commodities was 60 to 80 per cent from the top 20 per

cent.

http://www.countrynews.com.au/story.asp?TakeNo=201001111939490

Trade exe
mption

Some irrigators who wish to sell water to the Federal Government will be able to circumvent the four per cent district
trading cap under an exemption plan announced by the Northern Victoria Irrigation Region Project. The project has
issued a map outlining
areas that will be exempted from the cap due to the distance from the irrigation backbone
channels, soil type, drainage, salinity and other environmental factors. The exemption plan came out on the eve of the
start of the Federal Government's latest $270 m
illion buy
-
back offer to Murray
-
Darling Basin irrigators.

The first round offer closes on January 29. VFF wanted more consultation before the process got under way and more
consideration for communities hit by any large
-
scale water depletion. Some irrigat
ors are also concerned that the
identification of less attractive areas for future irrigation will have a negative effect on the value of their properties.

NVIRP said the map was indicative only and urged irrigators interested in selling water to contact
them to discuss their
property and the criteria for exemption. A series of public landholder meetings across the region, beginning next week,
is being promoted this week. Areas more than 2 km from the backbone have been exempted. NVIRP chief executive
Murr
ay Smith said the release of the criteria would give irrigators more options and make their eligibility clearer. The
zones complement the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project's modernisation program.
Mr.

Smith said the four
per cent trade limit was

helping communities adjust over time if large volumes of water were being permanently traded
out of their area, and as such was broadly supported.

7

The exempt zones reflected factors such as long
-
term irrigation suitability, trends in land use change, h
igh upgrade
costs and distance from the modernised backbone channel network. "Landowners in the yellow zones are under no
obligation to sell water and should base their decisions on careful consideration of their irrigation needs and their
long
-
term

farmin
g plans,"
Mr.

Smith said. Those situated in the green zone are still eligible to apply for the Commonwealth
water tender but the sales would be processed under the four per cent limit rules.

Landowners now have multiple opportunities to sell their water b
ut the various options are major considerations in
making sure irrigation remains affordable for those who wish to stay in the agricultural industries. At the 12 district
meetings to be held next week, the method undertaken to establish the criteria will b
e explained and irrigators'
questions will be answered. "We are mindful of the importance of any irrigators' decision to sell water, whether to the
Commonwealth, as a trade within their area, or by taking advantage of on
-
farm efficiency grants,"
Mr.

Smith
said.

He said the map gave a broad indication of exempted areas but landholders should seek contact with NVIRP to clarify
the status of their properties.
Mr.

Smith said information on the zones was being mailed to customers in
GoulburnMurray Water irrigat
ion areas this week.

http://www.servicesa.com.au/?p=45206

Service SA » NSW agrees 'in principle' to releas
e floodwaters to
...

NSW agrees 'in principle' to release floodwaters
to Murray Mouth

NEWS.com.au

-

Ms Keneally said she wanted to work with the
SA Government

on "a bilateral approach to set
levels, under the Murray
-
Darling Basin Agreement".
...