Damian Drum calls for environmental water for farm use

By Myles Peterson

Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum is advocating the temporary release of some environmental water for irrigation because of the drought.

‘‘The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder has said that they would release 10Gl onto the market,’’ Mr Drum said.

‘‘So we’ve been able to get some. It’s a start.

‘‘We’re looking more along the lines of can they push that to 30 or 50 or 70Gl, because they have an ample amount of water in their storage.

‘‘They’re due further allocations next year. So they have an enormous amount of water that could easily be borrowed right now, so we get that water out to the right farmers.

‘‘We need to get the fodder growing now. We could get a couple of hundred tonnes of fodder.

‘‘It’s predominately for transport into the Riverina region, the middle of NSW. They’d be eternally grateful,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re not looking to take water away from the environment, we’re looking to borrow. There’s a big difference and we’d only be glad to have this borrowed water sit on the ledger and have it repaid in later years.’’

Mr Drum made the comments during a visit to Canberra last week by a delegation from the City of Greater Shepparton.

‘‘I think it was great to have the Minister for Agriculture and Water — having it reinforced to him the impact of water policy and how important it is,’’ Mr Drum said.

‘‘Every time David Littleproud comes into the valley he is confronted by the importance of water policy.

‘‘The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder has already been running a series of environmental flows for the last two or three months down the Goulburn and they’ve already pumped a fair amount of water down the river.’’