Plan submitted

By Country News

A bumper 1100-page water resource plan has been submitted to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority for review by the Victorian Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning.

A key hurdle of the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, the resource plan was criticised by some irrigators looking to have their say on the plan, with many remarking its sheer size made it impossible to read.

The plan seeks to balance socio-economic impacts while delivering environmental benefits for the river system for the north of the state and Victoria’s share of the Murray River, and outlines how much surface and groundwater can be taken for use on farms, towns, industry, recreation and the environment.

The draft plan also discusses how to manage risk, including from climate change and drought, a plan to manage water quality, arrangements for groundwater trade, and identifying and responding to traditional owner water values and uses.

Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville said the plan would balance the needs of water users.

‘‘This plan shows how Victoria can rely on its existing water management and entitlement frameworks to meet the requirements of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,’’ Ms Neville said.

‘‘We’re delivering on our commitments to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and balancing the needs of all Victorian water users — the environment, farmers, traditional owners and community.’’

The progress of completing water resource plans has been slow going across the Murray-Darling Basin, with all basin states asking for an extension on the June 30, 2019 deadline.

MDBA partnerships executive director Carl Binning said the 33 water resource plans would form the basis of river water and groundwater use in the basin, including the limits on how much water could be used.