The Environmental Farmers Network believes that despite the legislated Basin Plan the long term environmental health of the Murray Darling Basin continues to be at real risk.
The reduction of this risk profile is dependent on the outcomes of this and the many other strategies and plans being developed for the implementation of the Basin Plan.
Our concerns in regard to this strategy centre on the certainty of timely procurement of the intended volume, and security types of environmental water and achievement of ecological targets identified in the Basin Plan.
We believe the assumption of 650 GL volume equivalents to be offset by Environmental Works and Measures (EW&M’s) projects to be of high risk, and places undue pressure on securing additional water prior to 2019.
Also of concern is the achievement of ecological targets set out in the Plan by these EW&M’s and believe it will be critical that the broader community has confidence in the transparency and integrity of this process.
We suggest consideration be given to including the achievement of environmental outcomes in project milestones, and recommend a comprehensive and regularly reviewed Risk Management Strategy be developed as acknowledgement of this CWRS being of an extended duration of over a decade with a 2024 reconciliation of EW&M projects.
The procurement of 450GL through on-farm efficiency works is also of concern as we question the integrity and value for money of many current projects and fear that the quality of projects offered into the future will diminish.
These are expensive water savings which also brings into question the budgeted $1.7 billion being sufficient to achieve this target.
The development of this strategy is an important step in the implementation of the Basin Plan and reducing associated risks of failure to achieve the outcomes so important to us all.
Water Resources Spokesperson.
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