Water cuts could affect farming

WARWICK’S dairy industry, as well as the wider farming community, could face tough times ahead if huge water cuts suggested in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) Guide are acted upon.

Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) chairman Wes Judd, who is originally from the Warwick area, voiced his concern that cuts outlined in the draft guide, which in some areas are up to 45 per cent, would lead to a smaller dairy industry.

The MDB Guide, which is being tipped as one of the most significant water reforms in our history, was released yesterday for public consultation, with its creators stressing it was “not a done deal”.

Involving 19 catchments, including this area, and four States, the plan is supposed to address the results of long drought periods and overall allocation of water.

The newly-released guide is effectively the first draft of the plan the Gillard Government says is needed for the long-term health of Australia’s food and fibre bowl.

Before its release, predictions suggested if the cuts were substantial there could be “riots in the streets”.

Irrigators look set to feel the pain if plans are put into place, with some predicting reductions in water allocations would result in huge losses to irrigated agriculture production, job losses and social impacts.

The guide recommends a cut of up to 37 per cent, but some areas, including the Warrego and Moonie in Queensland could face about 45 per cent reductions.

While some experts predict these plans would spell the death of towns, environmental groups are welcoming the guide.

Mr Judd said the priority “of all who live within, and use the resources of, theBasin must be to secure its social, environmental and economic value into the future.”


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