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Relief for irrigators

Saturday, 5th January, 2008

Recent rains are likely to put 300 gigalitres of water into Menindee Lakes, and those downstream should get access to some next week.The flow moving down the Darling River has led to increases in water allocations for irrigators and graziers upstream of Menindee.

Up to 250,000 megalitres of water is expected to be released from Menindee Lakes as early as Monday.

The Darling River flow has increased at Bourke from 1,500 to 20,000 ML a day over past two weeks, with more expected soon.

NSW Department of Water and Energy estimates about 300 GL will eventually flow into Menindee Lakes.

A 100 per cent allocation for high security water users in the Lower Darling has been championed by Local MP John Williams.

"Good flows are passing the length of the Barwon-Darling River system to the Menindee Lakes," Mr Williams said.

"This means releases into the Lower Darling River, downstream of the Menindee Lakes, will take place shortly meaning irrigators and other high security water users would be entitled to their full water allocation.

"This is great news for those irrigators, many of whom are relying on their first full allocation in some time."

The good inflows and subsequent increases in allocation and releases will benefit the environment, irrigators, graziers and town water supplies and signals a positive start to 2008, Mr Williams said.

Nathan Rees, NSW Water Utilities Minister, this week announced increases in allocations and easing of some restrictions for licence holders and stock and domestic water users in the State's Central and Far West.

The Barwon-Darling River, Macquarie and Cudgegong Valleys and Lachlan Valley are all affected.

Mr Rees said Christmas rains had boosted water supplies enough to deliver much-needed increases for local irrigators and landholders.

High flows from flooding in the Castlereagh River has made it possible to increase the water allocation for B and C class licences for commercial, industrial or irrigation use in the Barwon-Darling area.

They can now access a total of 20 per cent of their entitled water. It's the first time they have been able to get water from the Barwon-Darling since 2006.

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