In the weeks since the Water Workshops Riverland Wine has received inquiries from members about the possibility of convening more sessions. CCW members in particular have requested further opportunities to talk with the presenters and workshop the special tool-kit designed to help understand and manage irrigation options. Arrangements are presently being made. Details will be published next week and promoted via radio and newspapers. Tensions are on the rise, well in advance of the next growing season.
Several months ago, Riverland Wine floated the idea of a regular water forum for members and others to share concerns, discuss ideas and help one-another find solutions. The Workshops took priority and will be repeated, as stated above and below. Apart from those asking for a repeat of the workshop, some have specific questions about irrigation policies. Some are urging scrutiny of rules, regulations, customs and practices impacting on the ability to secure water for the new season.
The myriad of policies and regulations are complex, confusing, confronting; often dis-spiriting. Media broadcasters and publishers regularly express opinions and ideas that demand investigation. Some listeners and readers get fired-up. Others despair. Politicians tread wearily.
So, it’s back to the Forum suggestion. Riverland Wine has arranged for a preliminary meeting to test whether or not there is an appetite among members to work together to articulate the challenges, formulate questions and seek clarity about water policy and strategy. The associations representing almond, citrus and summer-fruit growers are keen to be part of the action. CIT, RIT and Jarod Eaton from DEW will also participate.
If the consensus is that it’s time to revisit the idea of a ‘cross-commodity’ forum, similar to the Horticulture Reference Forum, established in the years of market failure and drought, to share problems, consult authorities and discover solutions, then the wider memberships of those groups will be consulted. If members commit to support a regular forum, plans will be made, and announced hopefully within a few weeks. More often than not, problems shared are problems solved. Keep an eye on this column for updates.