Carry on up the ‘Bidgee

Submission on Murrumbidgee Irrigation Automation Finalisation Project
by Rod Campbell and Kate McBride

Murray Darling Basin Governments are attempting to recover 450 gigalitres (GL) of water through off-farm water efficiency projects, with almost $1.6 billion in funding, or an average of $3,500 per megalitre.

Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) has put forward a proposal that would recover 6,282ML at a cost of $124 million. This equates to $19,739 per megalitre of water returned to the environment, six times the average needed to achieve the 450GL, ten times the likely cost of buying the water from willing sellers and three times more that previous MI projects.

Another way of looking at the proposal is that it would use 8% the available funding to recover about 1.4% of the water. Even then, claimed water savings appear dubious.

Full report