Opinion

Water madness

By Country News

Water madness — everybody be warned

After living in the Goulburn Valley for 70 years and having spent the past 50 years dealing with orchards and dairy farm owners, I am concerned where we are heading. For example, in the past 14 days 7000Ml has being sent down the Goulburn River every day, which is a total of 98,000Ml. Eildon Weir is at 47 per cent, and some seven weeks ago there was about the same amount sent down the Goulburn River also. We finished at around 34 per cent in May this year and slowly we crept to 38 per cent then back down to 35 per cent, then again to 48.3 per cent and now heading to 45 per cent.

Why do I concern myself? Let me explain.

Say Mr Smith, a dairy farmer, has a 200Ml water right but because Eildon is at 45 per cent he may only get 50 per cent allocation of his water right, but still has to pay the full 100 per cent fixed water rates and additional water charges for usage. Then, because of the water shortage, he then has to buy temporary water on the temporary water market at around $650/Ml.

The banks are tight on helping; stress is building everywhere; half the dairy farms from Tongala, Echuca, Kyabram, Stanhope, Tatura, Shepparton, Nathalia, Numurkah, Cobram have gone, farmers have sold their cows and walked away from their farms.

On top of this, businesses are struggling. For example, on average 250 new tractors were sold each year; today, I would think that only a quarter of those tractors would be sold. Remember, when stock is slow selling, costs on holding this stock add to the business' concerns, plus all businesses in these towns are in the same boat.

You talk about mental health; farmers and business owners are proud people but are stressed. We waste water with cream puffs who make decisions but do not have a real idea of what is going on, they do not understand.

When you hear of the water shortage in Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and other places in NSW and a cost of $3.2 million a month to cart water into Stanthorpe, Queensland, and we watch many people, farmers, orchardists, struggling and then seeing 7000Ml be wasted each day heading down the river for the past two weeks — how ridiculous it is.

Scott Morrison, Daniel Andrews and everybody in the paid positions they hold today — and who will get big payouts when they leave their positions — should think of the people they have screwed because of the mistakes they have made now and during the past few years.

Wake up, before it turns into something you will take to your grave.

This matter will only get worse as we head towards summer and beyond and watch the region become a dust bowl.

— Daryl Gorman, Shepparton