Irrigators want water recovery target decreased in southern basin as well as northern basin

THE country’s water authority has refuted claims by MIA farmers suggesting southern basin irrigators are getting a “dud deal”.

The comment comes after Murrami grower Debbie Buller said arguing about water recovery figures with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) wouldn’t get anyone anywhere.

Mrs Buller said the MDBA had plenty to answer for following its announcement the Basin Plan would be amended to allow for a reduction in the northern basin’s water recovery target. 

The reduction comes on the back of a four-year consultation process and review finalising a decrease in recovered water from 390 gigalitres to 320 gigalitres. 

Mrs Buller was tired of authorities playing “the numbers game”. 

“We are forever arguing with them about the numbers … it’s crazy,” she said. “They already have a heap of water, but they don’t seem to care about the effects that has on irrigators. 

“Obviously the northern basin has had this review and we would love for them to do something similar here.”

However, according to the MDBA, the southern basin’s water recovery target may be lessened without a southern review.

In a statement it confirmed there was an opportunity to adjust the sustainable diversion limit through its adjustment mechanism.

Murray-Darling Association region nine chairman Paul Maytom was hopeful this would be the case. 

“That five-year review is expected to be completed by the end of the year … I am hopeful through it we might see a decrease in our water recovery targets as a result of that,” he said.