The Macquarie River is overworked and over allocated – too much water is extracted.
When Burrendong dam was built in 1967, the yield of the Macquarie River was assessed as 406 billion litres. But, water access licences totalling around 900 billion litres have been issued! That means users often receive only a percentage of the volume of their water access licence. There are simply too many straws in the glass.
The Infrastructure NSW | 2014 State Infrastructure Strategy Update (page 89) from the NSW government explains that the irrigation industry has grown too big for the natural capacity of the valley.
As our Government and water agencies blame the river itself for not being able to meet all of the needs that have been placed on it by a procession of Governments, agencies and industries, it is time for us to make a choice.
Do we want our river to become increasingly mechanised, only able to service corporate irrigation requirements?
Or do we want to maintain the rivers’ wild nature, allowing it to do what it does – support wildlife, fish, birds, downstream communities and sustainable irrigation farms ….. time to choose.
Image: Tareelaroi Weir Gwydir River