A food producers’ group has welcomed support for complementary measures in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Southern Riverina Irrigators says it will be interested to learn more about an unreleased CSIRO report that is believed to state measures such as carp control, fishways and fixing cold water pollution are needed.
SRI has been a strong advocate for governments and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to look at more adaptive management in delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
SRI chairman Graeme Pyle said it was heartening that leading scientists were recognising healthy river systems needed more than a ‘just add water’ approach.
‘‘Until now opinions of this nature have fallen on deaf ears, so hopefully we can get this out in the open and have sensible discussion and common sense decisions,’’ Mr Pyle said.
‘‘There is no reason why we still can’t achieve a balance between social, economic and environmental outcomes within the basin plan, but on the current trajectory this can’t be done.
‘‘You don’t have to look any further than the collapse of the Barmah Choke to know the volumes of water being forced down the river are causing river bank slumping and bank erosion.’’
Mr Pyle said trees, birds and fish did not care who owned the water, and ‘‘we must achieve multiple outcomes from river flows to ensure we can provide a triple bottom line approach’’.
‘‘Recent research tells us floodplain inundation is not needed every year, and in fact native fish populations don’t benefit from consecutive years of inundation, which also provides ideal breeding conditions for carp.
‘‘Complementary measures, which are ways to achieve environmental gain without acquiring additional water, will be an essential tool to achieving environmental outcomes.’’
Mr Pyle said there had been a lack of community consultation in the basin plan process, and an alarming lack of effort to look at possible methods to use our precious water in the wisest way.
‘‘We need to get a lot smarter with the plan’s implementation, or we will waste a lot of money for little more than decimating rural communities and restricting food and fibre production.’’