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Stakeholders talk to Murray-Darling Basin Authority

MDBA chief executive Phillip Glyde, MDBA officer Bill Johnson and MDBA chairman Neil Andrew were in Dubbo to talk with water users from the region. Photo: BEN WALKER”A FULL range of views” has been expressed at a meeting in Dubbo as the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) reaches out to engage with stakeholders concerned about the competing impacts of agricultural and environmental water allocations.
Nanjing Night Net

MDBA chief executive Phillip Glyde told the Daily Liberal a review was being undertaken to determine how water should be best managed in the northern basin – an area extending north to Charleville and Roma, east to Toowoomba, west of Bourke and down to Orange and Bathurst.

“When plans were put in place in 2012 it was recognised that data for the northern basin was not as good as what was available for the southern basin,” he said.

“More work needed to be done and after conducting hydrological modelling and economic, environmental and Indigenous studies we are now ready to share information with communities and interested parties, ranging from irrigators and floodplain graziers to recreational users and environmental groups.

“At the moment our (northern basin) plan says 390GL of water needs to be returned to the environment. We have been exploring whether we should be returning more or less than that target.”

Mr Glyde said organisations including Macquarie Food and Fibre had been “really well involved” in work undertaken by MDBA. Others, including local councils and fishing and recreational groups, had been less engaged.

“We are trying to talk to as many people as possible about what is happening with the review,” he said.

“We are reaching out via Facebook, Twitter and our website. People are also able to ask questions and express opinions and views by emailing [email protected]论坛, sending a letter to GPO Box 1801, Canberra City, ACT 2601 or telephoning 6279 0100 or 1800 630 114.

“The deadline for feedback will be the middle of the year.”

Mr Glyde said a meeting held in Dubbo on Tuesday heard from a number of people “concerned that water had already been over-recovered” in the region.

“Macquarie Food and Fibre felt it had already made a significant contribution,” he said.

“Some people wanted to know what guarantees were in place to ensure environmental water was well used for that purpose and not able to be consumed by other irrigators further downstream.

“There were comments from people who supported the environmental benefits of water recovery. Graziers from the Macquarie Marshes were complimentary about the plan but also wanted to be sure that environmental allocations would continue.

“There were concerns about some of the modelling we have been doing to try and better estimate the impacts of different levels of water being returned to the environment.

“There were positive views that we were out here talking and listening as well as criticism that MDBA does not consult very well.

“Our aim is to engage with individuals, groups and communities. We don’t want to alienate anyone.”

Mr Glyde said MDBA was about more than returning water to the environment.

“We also want to support industry,” he said.

“We have a triple bottom line of trying to balance economic, social and environmental outcomes.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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