THE signing of the Murray Darling Basin agreement between the federal and NSW government in Canberra was a step towards certainty for farmers today.
NSW Farmers water spokesperson Helen Dalton said although several issues needed work, the agreement did appear to contain a commitment to a sensible cap on water buybacks and important infrastructure commitments for NSW.
But at the end of the day, irrigators and water users need certainty and the signing of this agreement today will deliver some of that for them.
"We will need to spend some time working through the details of the agreement as they come to hand, but overall, we are pleased with what we understand so far," she said.
"We have long stressed to the State Government the importance of achieving balance between the environment and irrigation communities and we are pleased it stood its ground until a sensible limit on buybacks could be sought.
"We've always made it clear that much of the water returned to the environment under the plan could be obtained from improved infrastructure in the system.
"Infrastructure projects can supply further environmental water without adversely impacting regional communities. So, commitments in relation to infrastructure spend under the agreement are also pleasing to see.
"It has been a long road of reform and farmers are in it for the long haul. There are still of lot of issues that need work and we will continue to work on those issues. But at the end of the day, irrigators and water users need certainty and the signing of this agreement today will deliver some of that for them," Ms Dalton concluded.
The basin agreement includes an additional $80 million funding over the next eight years which will go towards developing further infrastructure and water management projects, water resource plans and other activities.