Last week I attended the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy consultation meetings with irrigation stakeholders in Southern Queensland on new policy proposals to improve the standard and coverage of non-urban water measurement. This new metering system intends to ensure fairness and increase transparency around how non-urban water is used and managed. As this protracted drought continues, water is the most valuable asset to both a farmer and the environment so it’s important we work towards a sustainable allocation that we can be responsible and accountable for.
Irrigators rely on robust and transparent regulation to help them manage their use of water however, a number of existing issues in the metering of the state’s water continue to undermine confidence in the process. With meters failing to meet national standards, infrequent and inaccurate readings and meters not implemented consistently across the state often resulting in a lack of information, which is an issue for sustainability and compliance. As water metering continues to be applied in new regions, it is essential that high standards of transparency exist to ensure the system continues to have the confidence of those already within and those joining a water sharing arrangement.
QFF recognises the importance of accurate and effective metering in all irrigation areas across the state. With water scarcity such an issue, irrigators are under continuous pressure to account for every megalitre of water they use. So, it’s important for irrigators to be involved in the Queensland Government’s consultation either in person or by making a submission online to express their concerns. Particularly as this policy is investigating the regulatory system for irrigation water not only in the Queensland Murray-Darling but the state as a whole.
A functional and productive water metering system relies on the combined confidence from irrigators, government and local communities. Without this, issues can arise that undermine the integrity of the system that is designed to mutually benefit all stakeholders. QFF will continue to work closely with government throughout this consultation process to ensure irrigators are adequately represented.