Logging gets free water but irrigators pay
How’s this quote – the forestry industry’s water take is “worse” for irrigation communities than government buy-backs “because there’s zero compensation for it”. This is from a key irrigation spokesperson.
The Australian Conservation Foundation looked at the Goulburn catchment and found the river would lose almost 4 million megalitres in the next century as clearfelled native forests started to regrow with the fast growing young trees using much more water than a stable mature forest would have.
In a similar finding, the Victorian Government’s 2008 Mein Mein report found that if logging stopped, water from the Thomson catchment (that feeds Gippsland’s Macalister Irrigation District) would increase an extra 16,000 ML a year by 2050, or about 10% of total annual allocation.
NSW Irrigators Council chief Andrew Gregson said native logging and plantation companies were “getting access to free water while we have to pay for it and there’s little or no limit on their usage”.