Water

Forum to discuss offset project impacts

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November 05, 2017

A Southern Basin Water Summit is due to be hosted in Tatura next week, with southern basin groups meeting to discuss proposed environmental offset projects in the Murray-Darling Basin.

A Southern Basin Water Summit is due to be hosted in Tatura next week, with southern basin groups meeting to discuss proposed environmental offset projects in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Hosted by the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Forum and the Committee for Greater Shepparton, the November 10 event will also include a focus on a number of aspects of the basin plan including a review of the completed socio-economic studies into the 450Gl of up-water and constraints projects.

State Member for Shepparton and GMID Water Leadership Forum chair Suzanna Sheed said the summit would be used to lobby governments to take action.

‘‘There is now ample evidence from reputable reports commissioned over the last 18 months which show the serious impacts on our farming towns and communities throughout the southern basin,’’ Ms Sheed said.

Water ministers from basin states are due to meet at the end of November to sign off on 605Gl of environmental offset projects and to finalise a process for recovering an additional 450Gl from the consumptive pool.

Ms Sheed said it could be disastrous for communities if these decisions were made without all the information on the table and it was vital that affected communities join together to voice their concerns before it was too late.

‘‘There are five inquiries under way into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and faith in the system is at an all-time low, yet our governments are forging ahead without any regard for the welfare of the regions.

‘‘They are pursuing an entirely inadequate, piecemeal approach to the situation while at the same time preparing to make crucial decisions on environmental offset projects and how to recover even more water despite the evidence of significant negative socio-economic impacts across our irrigation communities,’’ she said.

‘‘Once they make those decisions, the final stages of the plan will be locked into a trajectory that will further devastate our communities — and we cannot let that happen.’’

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