Water, climate change and the social and economic impacts of the MDB Plan are in the media almost every day for one reason or another. Many of the ‘headlines’ are negative, pointing to gloom and doom and of course these are real risks for our whole communities. Those on the front-line in this region are mostly irrigators and in the case of Riverland Wine (RW) these ‘front-liners’ are winegrowers and winemakers. As reported above, one thing RW can do is organise workshops to help clarify some of the mystery. The organisation can also encourage collaboration across the horticulture sector to ensure we are actively influencing policy. So, it’s pleasing to report the core commodity groups have formed a Water Forum, similar to the Hort Reference Forum put in place early in the period of the last drought.
The Forum will be known as the RHWG (Riverland Horticulture Water Group). Members are horticulturist and/or viticulturist associations or irrigation trusts; i.e. organisations representing members’ businesses that depend on irrigated water supplied from the Murray River in the Riverland, as defined by local government boundaries.
It makes sense for the individual groups to collaborate on the common issues and work together to raise awareness of challenges and to influence policymakers. This is an initiative to ensure the Riverland has a strong voice and can present coherent, constructive apposition statements on the wide range of water issues that impact our communities so profoundly.
The diagram below illustrates how the RHWG will provide the conduit between the representative organisations and the various authorities that can make or influence water policies.
The full Terms of Reference are available online.