Low Murray River levels are impacting on visitor numbers and must be addressed, according to Berrigan Shire Mayor Bernard Curtin.May 14, 2014 3:45am
Berrigan Shire Mayor Bernard Curtin said cross border towns must work together to attract more visitors to the region, as well as improve relationships with water authorities to ensure decent Murray River levels at key tourism periods.
Cr Curtin said a joint approach to tourism for the local region was discussed at the recent Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils meeting held in Jerilderie.
He said low river levels at Easter had an impact on visitor numbers and must be addressed as part of a new approach to tourism.
‘‘We are trying to work in with the Murray River regions of NSW and with government about having sub-regional areas that come together to discuss issues of common interest,’’ Cr Curtin said.
‘‘We are trying to arrange tourism on both sides of the river, from Albury to Mildura.
‘‘It can only be done with greater communication between all parties.’’
Cr Curtin said a prominent tourism issue raised at the RAMROC meeting was lowered Murray River levels throughout the Easter period and what effect it had on river communities like Tocumwal and Barooga.
He said members of the Berrigan Shire had met with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority prior to Easter to push for river levels to remain at a usable level for holiday goers.
He said it appears there was no attempt to meet the request.
‘‘We requested that the river have two-metre water depth, however over Easter it was 0.9m which makes the river virtually unusable for tourism,’’ Cr Curtin said.
‘‘This was surprising as tourism was one of the major issues taken into consideration for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.’’
Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins agreed, saying the row river levels were ‘‘a disgrace’’.
‘‘We were extremely disappointed because the MDBA promised that we would get appropriate flows over Easter at out last RAMROC meeting, but later said there wouldn’t be any water for Easter,’’ Mr Perkins said.
UPDATE: The CFA has downgraded its advice message.
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