Water use is down in MID

FIGURES for the last irrigation season showed irrigators in the Macalister district used about half the water they would in a normal season.

The figures were presented by Southern Rural Water’s managing director Clinton Rodda, at the corporation’s annual public meeting held in Maffra last Wednesday.

Customers, staff and board members attending the meeting heard details of the 2011-12 season, along with the challenges, achievements and financial outcomes for the year.

Mr Rodda also provided an outline of plans for the 2012-13 year and the five year plan from 2013-2018, which has just been submitted to the Essential Services Commission for review.

He said high rainfall during the past year had continued to result in low water use, resulting in high amounts of carryover water for this coming season in all Southern Rural Water’s irrigation districts, and lower-than-normal meter readings across the region for groundwater and surface water users.

In many areas, groundwater levels have increased because of lower extraction and recharge from rainfall.

Highlights of the year included the start of the MID 2030 leading works program in irrigation modernisation, the launch of interactive groundwater hydrographs on the Southern Rural Water website, and the continuing work with stakeholders and communities in managing floods.

Mr Rodda said that for 2012-13, Southern Rural Water would continue its close consultation with customers in budgeting, planning and major projects.

“Southern Rural Water seeks to be approachable, open to discussion and answerable to questions,” he said.

Questions from those attending included queries about the changes to the way Southern Rural Water is funding capital works and the effects of increased debt during 2013-2018, the setting of a reserve price for water auctions and impacts on the Newry township from flooding at Lake Glenmaggie.

For more information about Southern Rural Water phone 1300 139 510.