Southern Riverina Tourism bodies probe water authority about Murray River draw down.
Tourism authorities are seeking answers from the Murray Darling Basin Authority regarding the reported ‘‘sudden draw down’’ of the Murray river during the Christmas period.
While Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Clive March recently gushed over the great tourism numbers, partly because of the river height, he has this week said there was a week that it could have been much better.
He said the unannounced reduction on river levels saw some tourists leave in search of a better water source.
This week Sun Country on the Murray chair Gary Hunt revealed his quest to demand answers from the water authority.
The two organisations will also ask for a reporting system to be introduced to ensure communities and visitors using the river are well informed.
Mr March said low river levels had been a concern for the river community of Tocumwal, particularly in the week following Christmas.
‘‘The week after Christmas the levels were down.
‘‘People were leaving the area due to the low levels. It had an effect on town.’’
Mr Hunt says he has questioned the holiday season levels, by asking the Murray-Darling Basin Authority for an explanation.
He said the drawing down of the river seemed to be such a ‘‘senseless act’’ and prompted a negative reaction from campers and boaters.
‘‘This period is our peak holiday season and the retailers in all our towns are very dependent on the campers, skiers and fishermen to provide that ‘icing on the cake’ to the retail season.
‘‘Drawing down the river without notice to those who will be affected has left tourism business operators with a very poor impression of the decisions that are being made by the MDBA.’’
Mr Hunt has also asked for better communication, and even consultation, on any future draw down events.
Despite the river height concerns, Mr Hunt agreed the region has experienced a strong holiday season, which he said would be bolstered by the Australia Day long weekend, this weekend.
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