Media Releases | 10th Jun, 2010

Irrigation Program Audit shows all options for securing water not considered

Environment Victoria today welcomed the release of the Victorian Auditor General’s report into Irrigation Efficiency Programs and urged the state government to learn from past mistakes in planning for northern Victoria’s future.

The Auditor-General’s report criticised poor planning of the modernisation process and the difficulty of determining water savings.

Environment Victoria CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy said today: “The Auditor-General’s report again shows that modernising irrigation infrastructure is a very expensive, and not wholly guaranteed method of securing water. While we need to ensure that our farming is as water efficient as possible, we also need to consider other methods of safeguarding water security for regional communities and the environment.”

“The report found that the raft of options for achieving the state governments’ policy objectives of saving and securing Victoria’s water were inadequately considered, highlighting that the state government failed to consider water buy-back as a means of achieving water security”, said Ms O’Shanassy.

“This runs contrary to Productivity Commission research[1] which shows that buying back water entitlements is the most efficient and effective way to save and secure water, and secure the health of our rivers.”

“The Auditor-General’s report concludes that non-asset solutions like demand reduction and water buy-back were not adequately considered. This should not be repeated with stage 2 of the Foodbowl Modernisation project. Stage 2 should be re-focussed to include water buyback, provide environmental water to key assets like the Red Gum Parks, and provide transitional assistance for all sectors of the community to adjust to a drier future”, concluded Ms O’Shanassy.

For information or comment: Ms Kelly O’Shanassy 0421 054 402