Water

Comment sought on water resource plan

By Country News

A new northern Victoria water resource plan has been released for comment, finalising another piece of the puzzle towards implementing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The 1022-page document said there should be ‘‘no immediate changes’’ to how water is managed in the region.

‘‘Victoria has already done the heavy lifting for the environment and has recovered or contracted more than 800Gl of water for the environment. That is over 70 per cent of the total water recovery required under basin plan,’’ the document reads.

‘‘Victoria’s share is a long-term average annual volume of 1075Gl, which is about 40 per cent of total basin water recovery.’’

Although most states, including Victoria, are on track to deliver their water resource plans, the MDBA said NSW was currently behind schedule, will all of its 20 water resource plans yet to be finalised.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has indicated complex issues — including an independent review to regulate and licence floodplain harvesting in NSW which is due in April 2019, and work on new measures to protect environmental water — that need to be included within the water resource plans as reasons for the delay.

The plan also assessed the risks to the region, with climate change and extreme drought cited as big concerns.

With significant wetlands scattered across the region, including Barmah-Millewa Forest, Gunbower Forest, Hattah Lakes and Kerang Wetlands, the plan said water for the environment was a key part of the basin plan.

‘‘The water recovered to improve the health of our rivers and land includes water saved by upgrading and modernising irrigation systems, as well as water recovered from farmers by the Federal Government in return for modernising and upgrading irrigation systems on their farms,’’ the plan reads.

DELWP will hold several public consultations across the region including at Shepparton, Wangaratta and Kerang in mid-February.

■For more information about consultation or to submit feedback, visit: engage.vic.gov.au/water-resource-plan-northern-victoria