Limited assistance to farming community: Already the water authority GWM Water is preparing to do this for 2300 farms from 1 October. Each farm will receive 28,000 litres of water a month free for domestic purposes. If they want extra water for livestock, they will have to pay to truck it in themselves.
Dam top up planned via irrigation canals: But in the worst case, the Government will be faced with trucking water into Horsham – a herculean task. The city has a population of 18,000, with another 2,000 in the surrounds. Something is being done in the meantime. GWM Water’s corporate services manager, Andrew Rose, says his organisation is planning to run water through existing irrigation channels this month to fill the dams that supply 24 towns in the area.
Irrigation to lose out: However, there will be nothing for irrigation. A northern Mallee pipeline, the bulk of which is completed, has already revolutionised farm and town life in places such as Ouyen and Patchewollock, providing supply security to farms and towns while saving vastly more water for the environment of the rivers and lakes.
Urban use overshadowed by irrigation demand: It might surprise many that while Melbourne has about 80 per cent of the state’s population, it uses only 8 per cent of the state’s water. The bulk, 77 per cent, is used for irrigation. Suggestions that Victoria should be building more dams on the handful of rivers not already tapped have been rejected. It is not that there isn’t enough storage capacity: the problem is there is simply not enough rain to fill it.
The Age, 2/9/2006