Water bid to save dairy

By Dairy News

A GROUP of innovative dairy farmers looking for a solution to retaining water and wealth in the Torrumbarry irrigation district are in the process of establishing a water platform.

The group, Gannawarra Water Guardians, is looking at a long-term solution where retiring farmers, business owners or anyone with a water entitlement (lessors) can put part of, or all of, their entitlement onto the platform, to be leased by active irrigators (lessees) within the Torrumbarry zone.

Lessors will receive an annual dividend for their water.

The lessee will have access to reasonably priced water over a three- to five-year lease to mitigate business risk, with the idea the wealth generated by irrigation stays in the local community instead of lining the pockets of corporate investors in another state.

The group has been working on this concept since last year and has received funding and help from Murray Dairy and a local philanthropic organisation.

Committee member Skeeta Verhey said water had long been looked at as a problem just for farmers but the reality was, it was a whole community issue.

“Water and irrigation underpins the success of us all — from agriculture to local business, schools, hospitals and our sporting clubs,” Mr Verhey said.

The group is looking at leasing terms of three to five years with a cash-flow-friendly scenario of payments over a 12-month period.