The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has welcomed the announcement made by the Federal Government to improve Murray Irrigation’s network to deliver water for the environment.

NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “Irrigators are passionate locals who love seeing healthy rivers and enjoying them with their families and friends. They understand local issues and want to help deliver solutions.

“I recently joined Murray Irrigation for a tour to see firsthand how their irrigation systems could be used to deliver real environmental solutions for the local area and I’m pleased to see it progressing.

“The Federal Government’s commitment of $35 million to the project will help Murray Irrigation upgrade its channels and increase the capacity of escapes, boosting efficiency while delivering water into local creeks and wetlands areas.

“This initiative is as an example of the collaboration between irrigators, government and environmental water holders in working together to find sensible solutions which benefit local water users and the local environment.

“In practice, this project means water can be delivered to wetlands and creeks which otherwise would not receive benefit from environmental water, unless during a large and rare flood. It means doing more with less water and is an example of using water in a targeted way to achieve a specific outcome.

“The project is designed to boost water delivery across 100 local wetlands and up to 372 kilometres of ephemeral creeks in the Edward Wakool system. Added benefits are the additional 256 direct and indirect jobs in the local area and decreased ongoing maintenance and operating costs for local irrigators.

“NIC has long advocated that just adding water does not necessarily deliver greater environmental benefit. Simply focusing on volumes and flow targets dilutes the focus on real and measurable environmental outcomes. The project is a clear demonstration of communities, irrigators and environmental water holders working together to identify the most efficient and targeted use of

“Under the Basin Plan, water has been recovered for the environment and is delivering results for local communities. As part of the Basin Plan review, the question for consideration is now that water recovery is almost complete, how should the available water be used to deliver the best results into the future.

“NIC encourages all Basin stakeholders to put aside political and parochial partisanship to ensure the focus remains on delivering outcomes for the environment, local communities and for food and fibre producers – and this project is an example of how that can be done.”

Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890