Irrigators running out of water

From the department of water-water-everywhere-so- let's-all-have-a-drink:
The New South Wales Government says irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin only have enough water to last them about another six weeks.

The state Water Minister, Phil Koperberg, is visiting the region today to discuss the options available to irrigators.

Mr Koperberg says the price of water in the area is now up to 10 times higher than it was this time last year.

"This is one of the manifestations of the way in which water is traded these days," he said.

"As a consequence, because of the dire shortage, it's once again a case of supply and demand.

"The water price is exceedingly high this morning."

He says irrigators' livelihoods are "rapidly disappearing".

"So once again, for the fourth time, I'm heading down there today because I want to hear from the irrigators themselves to see what their views are to see what they believe governments might avail themselves of to assist," he said.

"It's a question of just working through this crisis at the moment."
The good news at this present moment in time is that the La Nina indicators are very good, which means that there is a chance that the drought will break soon with above-average rainfall. The bad news is that, generally speaking, this is the "dry season" for south-eastern Australia.

I still think there is merit in building a desal plant, preferably near Adelaide, which would pump irrigation-quality water inland to be used in dry area farming (wheat). The cost of building the plant and pumping the water would be charged to the farmers, who would then factor in the price of the water into their grain costs. Having spoken to some farmers in Griffith last year, I can confidently say that farmers would be happy to pay such a cost for water if they can be guaranteed supply and a regular crop.

Moreover, the Desal plant could be powered by wind and/or solar and the farmers would be forced to use water-saving irrigation techniques to prevent salinity problems. Some of the water could also be used to create forests in the desert to help mitigate global warming.

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