The Basin Plan seeks to acquire 2,750GL water from consumptive water use for environmental purposes. As at 31 December 2017 a total of 2,106GL has been contracted to the Commonwealth.
In the NSW Murray, over 353GL has been transgferred to the Commonwealth with 219.5GL acquired through direct purchase and 134 through infrastructure efficiency programs.
SRI believes there should be no further water recovery from productive agriculture and the focus shift to better management of the volume currently held.
The Basin Plan allowed for new knowledge and adaptive management through the inclusive of an adjustment mechanism. This mechanism allows for water recovery offsets through better use of environmental water by either rule change or environmental works and measures. It also allows for further water to be recovered provided social and economic conditions are maintained or improved.
SRI supports the use of effective management of environmental water to offset the requirement for further water recovery.
SRI does not believe further water recovery can be achieved withoug negative social and economic impacts.
Amendments linked to the adjustments mechanism reducing the water recovery target by 605GL have been tabled in Parliament. The Greens have moved to disallow the amendments and this motion is to be voted on in the Senate in May. SRI is actively lobbying parliamentary reprensentatives not to support the disallowance.
The NSW Government launched a Water Reform Action Plan in December 2017 to improve water resource management and compliance. The Action Plan includes several phases of consultation on a range of issues including water use metering and measurement, environmental water management and water account transparency.
SRI is actively participating in the consultation to ensure consistent rules across the State that enable effective resource management without imposing increased red tape or cost onto irrigators.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) will conduct a review into the cost share ratio between Government and water users. These cost share ratio are applied to the cost of maintaining and operating the infrastructure and management of the river systems. The current ratio have not been reviewed for more than a decade.
SRI will participate in the review to highlight the changing water demand environment with increasing impacts from environment water management, recreational users and other stakeholders who gain benefit from the river system.
SRI provides submission to relevant parliamentary inquiries, productivity commission reviews, royal commission and other processes established to investigate areas of water reform. Current reviews include: