Water availability will be one of the greatest challenges facing
the future of Murray Irrigation and its irrigators. In addition to
climatic factors, there is growing competition for the available
water resources from a range of players.
An allocation for the Barmah Millewa Forest in 1993
indicated that the environment would be recognised
as a legitimate user of water, effectively competing
with irrigators for a share.
In 1995 the Murray Darling Basin Commission introduced
a cap to limit the amount of water which could
be extracted from the basinís water resources.
A further environmental commitment was made in
2000 with an intergovernmental agreement to restore
20 per cent of average natural flows to the Snowy
River and provide another 70,000 megalitres for the
This was followed by the Murray Darling Basin Commissionís
Living Murray Initiative with 500,000
megalitres of water to be provided for environmental
flows in the Murray River, by 2010.
Water savings are the current focus of efforts to
provide environmental flows, however additional
water may well be needed to meet the current commitments.
Irrigators have received some security over their water
entitlements through the 2004 NSW Murray Water
Sharing Plan and the Federal Governmentís National
However with water trading accelerating and new
players in the market the emphasis will be on efficient,
more profitable water use and
increased environmental responsibility.
A Healthier Landscape
Murray Irrigation Limited and local landholders are
involved in a number of initiatives to improve the health
of the regionís landscape.
These include a project with the NSW Murray Wetlands
Working Group to water stranded farm wetlands.
This project began in 2001 and has resulted in
significant improvements in the health of more than
100 wetlands. The biodiversity of these areas has
increased and there is a growing community
appreciation of wetlands and their lifecycles. Photo: MIL Collection.