Water

The VFF has secured a commitment from the State Government to improve water market transparency along with an investment in stock and domestic water infrastructure and irrigation infrastructure. 

The VFF is working with Victorian farmers on a range of water related issues. In brief these issues are:

Stock and domestic

  • New water delivery systems for stock, domestic water use and security
  • Rural pipeline construction
  • Planning controls in potable water catchments
  • Forced fencing of reservoirs and unreasonable permit conditions
  • Destocking and replanting of reservoir areasOn-farm water use efficiency and energy.

Irrigation

  • Murray-Darling Basin Plan Review 
  • Goulburn Murray irrigation District Connections Project
  • Domestic and intensive irrigation upgrade
  • New recycled water irrigation districts.
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Murray Darling Basin Plan

The biggest issue facing irrigators in Victoria is the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The VFF is working on behalf of its members to obtain a sustainable outcome to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. We are aiming for an outcome that supports sustainable growth for the rural communities along the river system – farming and rural towns, the environment and native flora and fauna, and the economy. And are consulting and negotiating with rural communities, water catchment managers, environmental agencies and politicians across the political spectrum. 

Success on the Murray

The Murray-Darling River has a rich history stretching from Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Created together under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (the Basin Plan), this managed water system feeds thousands of native fauna and flora, is the water source for large amounts of productive agricultural land and supplies water to millions of people along its course. 

Since the early 2000s, a succession of governments have developed and implemented water allocations and buy-back schemes to ensure the sustainable livelihood of the river system – sustainability that underpins a balance of people, the environment and the economy. 

The Basin Plan has delivered a water recovery of 2027.6 gigalitres into the Murray-Darling Basin river system and led to positive environmental impacts – conservation areas, waterways, native flora and fauna.

This water recovery also paved the way for a greater imperative of water efficiencies across the basin farming community whilst still producing food and fibre for Australian and global markets. 

As a managed system, the increased and more stable water capacity has allowed water managers to develop innovative structures to enhance native species and build on depleted stocks. Click the image below to find out more about the range of water projects invested in to support the sustainability of the basin.

The river system is now a healthy vibrant community supporting conservation, food and fibre production, and rural and regional communities.

This health and vibrancy along the river has come through large amounts of collaborative investment, the use of new technologies, the implementation of plans and structures that support long term scenario based outcomes, and the deep knowledge and consultation of local people, communities and ecologists.  

The balance of health and vibrancy along the river is sustainable at current levels of environmental water allocations. Further extraction of water from the system will tip the balance to provoke economic instability along the river communities. Economic instability will reverberate into rural and regional business social structures such as schools and hospitals, and the vibrancy of the region.

Four case studies showcase initiatives that have delivered significant environmental improvements to the river system. These initiatives have been founded on the deep knowledge and scenario planning across the natural flows and seasonality of water availability. 

A healthy basin

Water efficiency programs and structures – see case studies – support a healthy economically viable Murray-Darling Basin. These examples use new technology and ecosystem knowledge and understand the balanced relationship of water availability across the natural environment, farming, people and the basin communities.

The VFF is calling for the MDBP to halt any further environmental water capture from the basin communities. 

Giving back water entitlement has been challenging for our farmers and towns, businesses and communities. At the outset of the basin plan, we recognised the need to manage the environment in a more effective way. We are now achieving those outcomes. Importantly however we believe that further water for the environment will not continue to have the same benefit as it has to-date. 

An independent socio-economic study has been commissioned and will report to the MDB authority in December 2017.

In June, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministers agreed to the Sustainable Diversion Limit adjustment mechanism projects – these projects represent significant investment in environmental works and changes to the river operational rules.

The SDL adjustment mechanism allows for environmental outcomes to be delivered eliminating the need for further water recovery in the southern Basin. The agreement should mean avoiding further buy-back to implement the Plan. The projects support sustainable growth for the rural communities along the river system – farming and rural towns, the environment and native flora and fauna, and the economy.

Further consultation is due to occur later in 2017.  Details including four environmental case studies can be found on the VFF website. http://bit.ly/MDBPVFFpolicy