Water

Rallying for fair water deal

By Alana Christensen

‘‘It’s a bad one, it’s bloody tough.’’

For Cobram mixed farmer Ian Fox, who also has a property at Corowa, that sums up the current situation as a result of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

He has plenty to say about the basin plan, but said the problems started long ago.

‘‘When they unbundled the water from the land, that was about the end of it,’’ he said.

With water prices currently sitting around $400/Ml in the Goulburn system according to Waterpool Co-Op, he said producing feed wasn’t even worth farmers’ effort this year.

‘‘You’re losing money for every megalitre you buy, it’s cheaper just to buy the fodder than farm your own land,’’ he said.

As for the hope that good decisions can resolve the current situation, Mr Fox is somewhat cynical.

‘‘It’s a hope. It’s just a dream ...’’ he said.

Ultimately, he said the outcome of Friday’s Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting meant little without rain.

‘‘It’s bad enough now, but if we don’t get a lot of rain in autumn there’s a lot of farmers that will be done for good. They’re buggered,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s just too late now.’’

For former dairy farmer and current mixed farmer Gary Ennals, a large source of frustration is seeing the rivers running high while he has zero allocation on his Cobram property.

‘‘I don’t mind if I can’t get any water — if no-one can,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s no common sense, it’s all political.’’

He said whether it was farmers or those living in town, eventually the effect of a loss of water from the consumptive pool was felt everywhere.

‘‘It goes right through the town.’’

However, with years of battles regarding the Murray-Darling Basin Plan already having taken place, former West Goulburn UDV branch president Wade Northhausen said now was not the time to stop fighting.

‘‘We’ve got to keep up the fight,’’ he said.