Australia citrus growers nervous about plans to limit water

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Australia citrus growers nervous about plans to limit water

As Australia’s government details a plan to restructure water use in the southeast, citrus growers there in the nation’s “food bowl” are worried that water-use cuts could hurt their livelihoods, The Weekly Times, a local newspaper, reported.

According to the guide for water use in the Murray Darling Basin, which includes parts of the states of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, water use would be limited by an average of 22% to 29%. Some areas would see no cuts, while others might see cuts of up to 35%, according to the news release published Friday on Murray Darling Basin Authority’s web site.

Before the guidelines were released, Judith Damiani, chief executive of Citrus Australia, told the newspaper that cuts – previously estimated to be up to 37% -- would have “grave social and economic impacts on citrus growers and their regional communities.”

The citrus industry generates AU $190 million a year, according to the nation’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Ministry. Much of it is in concentrated in the Murray Darling Basin.

A period of public comment on the plan will begin.


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