The latest changes to the Murray-Darling Basin plan have been welcomed by Melbourne University scientists, but they warn it is just the start of needed change.November 6, 2012 4:03am
University of Melbourne environmental scientists have welcomed the Federal Government’s new plan for the Murray-Darling Basin, but warned the devil would be in the detail.
The university’s School of Land and Environment hailed the Prime Minister’s announcement as a fair compromise of environmental and population needs.
But Agriculture and Food Systems Professor Snow Barlow warned it was just the beginning of the process.
‘‘All eyes will be on how this plan is implemented ahead of 2019, when all states become bound by it,’’ he said.
School dean Professor Rick Roush said there were two important components which must be part of the implementation plan, in addition to on-farm infrastructure and environmental works.
‘‘The communities which will sell irrigation water to the Commonwealth for this extra environmental water must be assisted to rapidly adjust to these changed circumstances,’’ he said.
‘‘We need research, extension and training programs to teach people how to use both irrigation water and environmental flows more efficiently,’’
Agriculture and Food Systems head Professor Frank Dunshea said Melbourne researchers recently developed management technologies and techniques to improve the productivity of irrigated dairy farms.
‘‘Together with the Murray Dairy farmers group, the university has a proposal before government for further funding to implement this research on the dairy farms across northern Victoria,’’ he said.
Prof Barlow said the proposed new water allocations opened the way for much more sophisticated management of water within the basin for triple-bottom-line outcomes.
‘‘However, considerably more research is required to develop the understanding, real-time information systems, water trading and management systems needed to ensure that the available water is put to the best possible effect,’’ he said.
‘‘The recent MDBA modelling that has led the realisation that a few big floods have much more biological impacts than a lot of small ones has just barely scratched the surface of the possibilities for water managers and farmers to work together in the basin.’’
Prof Roush said there was no time to waste.
‘‘It is imperative that this work is done, management systems are put in place and the farming communities and environmental managers are prepared for these changes before they are fully implemented in 2019.’’
The Bureau of Meteorology has released a severe weather warning for regions that include Shepparton. It includes damaging winds and the potential for flash flooding.
Pete O’Neill and Abby Hicks are national champions at the completion of the 2015 Australian Barefoot Championships held last week.
GVAC women Rachel Pratt and Jacquie Fitzpatrick showed the men, and the large crowd at Rushworth Speedway on Saturday, March 28, they have what it takes when competing in the men’s classes.
Two international backpackers have taken aim at contractors who hired them to pick fruit in the region without payment.
Rochester boxing coach Chris Trewin and his team of dedicated trainers have been hitting the bag for more than six months and the results are beginning to show.
Local MP calls for community applications
A special event will take place at Pioneer Park on Sunday.
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Strathmerton clinched a win in the high-scoring game against Mathoura on the weekend in the PDFL North West competition.
Deniliquin swimming dynamo Stephen Dalzell has finished 13th overall in his preferred event at the Australian Age Championships.
Murray Goulburn Co-operative has set a date for a special meeting to vote on a new capital structure.
Emergency services are on scene of a two-car crash on the Midland Hwy, near Benalla. Two people have died. Traffic is being diverted.
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