What is happening that is hurting Wee Waa?
Wee Waa is hurting right now, our town is 90% dependent on Agriculture of which Water is the major factor. The Murray-Darling Basin plan proposed to remove 23 000 megalitres of Water which will come from farms in and around Wee Waa. This will mean an estimated 70 Full-time job and $38 million dollars will be removed annually from the regional economy. This decision whether to take water from Wee Waa is being made by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority as part of the Northern Review of the Basin Plan.
Why is this happening?
The MDBA admitted they did not have enough northern data in 2010 (actually they used southern data and got found out that this does not fit the northern system), this has led to a review of what the environmental requirements are in the Barwon-Darling River and Condamine Balonne which are the two key parts of the Northern Basin. This is separate to those requirements in the Southern basin which deliver water to South Australia, this water is specifically for the environment instream in the North. The MDBA will make a decision in September based on the updated information on the environment, social and economic factors and they decide the fate of Wee Waa.
What should happen – and will save Wee Waa?
It is acknowledged by the MDBA and ALL Stakeholders in the Northern Basin that the environmental needs can be better met by installing fishways in the weirs, removing carp, re-snagging the river, planting more trees along the river/fencing off stock access and fixing cold water pollution. These actions achieve SIGNIFICANTLY greater environmental outcomes than just adding water.
Currently, the environment receives over 80% of the total flow out of the Namoi system flowing through Wee Waa, the rest is used by Towns and farmers for stock and domestic supply and less than 19% is used by agriculture which supports towns like Wee Waa to survive. The water we use for agriculture keeps people in school, keeps people in jobs and keeps businesses running. Removing this water will put our town into permanent drought and will harm our community.
Help us get the State and Federal government to use common sense in redirecting funds that remove productive water from our communities into infrastructure and on ground solutions that deliver the outcomes needed.
In 10 years time, we don’t want the government to come back and say more water is needed – you could add all the water in the basin and it wouldn’t be enough.
Long-term environmental improvement comes from a holistic approach not just adding water.
Please help us by making this an issue that is prioritised to get the government to make the right decision for the right reason.