Mildura Weekly : Friday July 10 2015 Vol 9 No 35
NEWS 05 FRIDAY, JULY 10, 2015 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU By VINNIE RODI POONCARIE farmers and resi- dents in the midst of a water short- age have “every right to be an- noyed” according to Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli, PICTURED. The Deputy Leader of the NSW National Party visited the region on Tuesday to meet with residents to discuss water issues facing the town. It follows reduced flows into the Lower Darling River due to a lack of inflows into the Menindee Lakes system. “I think residents have the right to be annoyed about what’s happened over the last couple of years with all of the water that was in Menin- dee Lakes, and how the management of that system has left them in a somewhat precarious position,” Mr Piccoli said. “Talking to people, they feel that the water in Menindee should have given them greater water security for lon- ger, as historically that’s what has happened, and we want to make sure that people don’t run out of water.” Mr Piccoli said he would in- vestigate the possibility of mak- ing emergency water infrastructure fund grants available to affected people, with several farmers al- ready left without water, while even more face bills in excess of $15,000 to drill bores and erect new fences on their properties because of the changed river level. “People have asked for access to these grants, which are usually available to those on the Darling in drought-affected areas,” he said. “Unfortunately this part of the State is not drought-declared, so currently they are not available, and I certainly plan on inves- tigating what help there is.” Mr Piccoli had the chance to visit the Poon- carie Weir along- side local farmer Rosie Reid, while also having the chance to meet with Went- worth Shire Councillors to discuss a range of issues facing the Shire, including Pooncarie’s water woes. Those concerns were initially raised in May, with continued town water supply from the Poon- carie Weir Pool now dependant on a number of factors, including evaporation and seepage losses, water quality, and extraction from the water source upstream of the weir. Mr Piccoli said he was also aware of Wentworth Shire Coun- cil’s plans to continue investigat- ing the possibility of constructing a bore to supply fresh water to the township, with the cost currently estimated at $250,000. “Town water supply is a con- cern, and Council is looking at con- structing a bore to address that,” he said. “I’m aware some people have questioned the cost, and while I’m no engineer, it is something that needs further investigation. “Pooncarie residents would ar- gue that if the river had been man- aged properly it (a bore) wouldn’t be required. “I’m no expert in river manage- ment, but we’re certainly not going to let people run out of water. If a bore is what’s needed then we will look at it, as we want to make sure communities along the Lower Dar- ling have water security.” Mr Piccoli said that the NSW Government had already agreed to cover a portion of the costs as- sociated with carting raw water to Pooncarie should the need arise, with Wentworth Councillors agree- ing to follow that course of action at their May meeting. Wentworth Mayor Don McKin- non described Mr Piccoli’s visit as highly productive. “It was also really good to speak to Mr Piccoli about the water issues facing Pooncarie,” he said. “We’re continuing to investigate fund- ing for a bore, and we’re currently being told that we would have to fund it on a 50/50 basis, while also covering power and other costs as- sociated. “At the moment Broken Hill is having bores constructed for free, and we believe we’re entitled to the same treatment – a view shared with Mr Piccoli this week.” Cr McKinnon said Council had also discussed the feasibility behind raising the Pooncarie Weir wall with Mr Piccoli, while also indicating an expectation that resi- dents would be treated the same as other communities reliant on the Menindee Lakes system. “The Government has already admitted that the management of Menindee Lakes was mucked up,” he said. “While this is the first time we have ever got to this stage, we are calling for the Government to commit to a course of action that helps everyone. “At the moment there’s enough raw water in the weir to last the town until Christmas, and in my opinion Pooncarie should qualify for emergency procedures current- ly being granted to other affected communities.” Pooncarie water anger justified, says Piccoli Landholders call for Govt action...now! KINROSS Station owner Rosie Reid is calling on the New South Wales Government to act quick- ly to help landholders affected by the Pooncarie water crisis. Water reserves are becoming dangerously low in the town- ship following reduced inflows into the Menindee Lakes system, with Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli visiting farmers and resi- dents this week to learn more about the situation. “He was very receptive and on the ball,” Rosie said. “Adrian is already moving on some of the points we made, and is set- ting wheels in motion and re- questing help with things that could make a difference. “We are delighted that he has listened and is acting, and hope- fully Adrian can organise visits from others in authority, and even set a benchmark for good management in the future.” One of the major requests made by landholders was to be granted access to the State Government’s emergency water infrastructure grants – which are usually reserved for those in drought-declared areas. Rosie said the Pooncarie Weir was another major issue that needed to be addressed, saying it wasn’t “holding the river to the same height as the old weir.” • Continued Page 6 “I think residents have the right to be annoyed about what’s happened over “Talking to people, they feel that the water in had the chance to visit the Poon- carie Weir along- side local farmer Rosie Reid, while also having BEEF & ALE STEW TRY OUR DELICIOUS NEW MENU JENNYCRAIG.COM.AU 50% OFF our most popular program and try 1 NEW MENU ITEM FOR FREE* CALL US NOW: 5022 1388 JENNY CRAIG MILDURA, 105 ORANGE AVE, MILDURA Reach your weight loss goals while still enjoying delicious food. Our friendly consultants Ali, Cristina, Cathy and Jo will be with you every step of the way to celebrate your weight loss wins.
Friday July 3 2015 Vol 9 No 34
Friday July 17 Vol 9 No 36