News | 8th Aug, 2012

Flooding for farmers under Basin plan

Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Lyndal Reading, Weekly Times

HUNDREDS of hectares of farm land could be flooded by environmental water under the proposed Murray Darling Basin plan.

But a group of landowners believe farmers will be happy to allow their land to be flooded and have started the legal work to prove it.

With the latest draft of the basin plan due to go to the state Water Ministers in days, members of the Australian Floodplain Association are looking at waivers and covenants to protect flood plains.

The basin plan proposes 2750 GL of water be recovered for the environment across the basin states.

Association spokesman Terry Korn said his organisation had put the call out to members to see who would be happy to have their land flooded. Almost 405,000 hectares was pledged.

"People are saying landowners won't be happy to have their land flooded," Mr Korn said. "But we wanted to put this out there to counter those arguments."

The process began late last year and landowners are now speaking to lawyers about waivers and voluntary conservation agreements.

"In the southern basin there are landholders who say they will sue if their land is flooded," Mr Korn said. "But there are also landholders who would like to have their flood plains flooded because it fits in with their farming system."

Environment Victoria campaigner Juliet Le Feuvre said covenants on flood-prone land were the way forward.

"Many farmers are on flood plains and know that land floods," Ms Le Feuvre said.

Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists environmental engineer Tim Stubbs said environmental water could be "piggy backed" on other flooding events.

"The water could be pushed out on to the floodplain further, or lengthen the time of the inundation," Mr Stubbs said.

He said third-party impacts were not insurmountable and could be dealt with through agreements or covenants with landowners.

"We manage to resolve issues of third-party impacts around road and rail, so we do have a mechanism for dealing with these issues," Mr Stubbs said. 



Read our latest blog on the MDBP here here