Monday, 27 August 2018
NSW confirms release of e-water to grow hay and fodder crops
NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today called on the Commonwealth Government to match the recent decision of the NSW Government to release stored environmental water for use by farmers to grow fodder crops during the crippling drought.
The MP applauded yesterday’s announcement by the government to release up to 15,000 megalitres of stored water for use by the farming sector.
“This is a wonderful initiative which has the full support of the farming sector in the Northern Tablelands,” Mr Marshall said.
“It is something I raised with Minister Upton and Minister Blair a few weeks ago, because it was an option put on the table by a number of farmers in this area.
“At the moment there is 120,000 megalitres of environmental water held in Copeton Dam, with the overwhelming majority of that held by the Commonwealth.
“The state government holds a relatively small portion and that will be released for farming purposes given the extraordinary dry conditions being experienced at the moment.”
That water will be made available to buy and includes water held in storage within the Gwydir, Macquarie, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray-Lower Darling valleys, with up to 15,000 megalitres of NSW water previously reserved for environmental purposes made available for purchase by farmers.
All proceeds raised by the sale of water would be held in trust with the Primary Industries Department and used for priority drought-related projects.
“I call on the Commonwealth, and in particular, the newly appointed Drought Assistance Special Envoy to match what the state government is doing to ensure that our farmers have every resource available to them to get through this extraordinary period,” Mr Marshall said.
“The water release is critical for a number of reasons – it is a real win-win – our farming community will have the opportunity to grow fodder crops and sell that to provide a source of income that ordinarily, in the dry time, they could not access.
“Secondly, graziers may then have the opportunity to purchase hay and other fodder within the region, rather than stumping up scarce funds to haul essential feed from interstate.
“It’s also a win for our agricultural sector ensuring there is a lot of money continuing to flow through our local communities rather than environmental water sitting in Copeton Dam, not doing anything when it could be doing a lot of good for people on the land.