Australian citrus group calls for calm over water-use plan

Australian citrus group calls for calm over water-use plan

An Australian citrus group called for calm last week as hundreds of residents packed public hearings over a plan to overhaul water use -- and in some cases limit use -- in the nation’s southeast.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is holding public meetings seeking community input on its plan to regulate water in the region, which is home to many of the nation’s fruit producers, as well as other agricultural sectors.

Residents in southeast Australia crowd a meeting over plans to limit water use in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Guidelines that call for water-use limits of up to 45% have caused worry across the agriculture industry, according to the Australia Broadcasting Co.’s website

But Riverina Citrus Chairman Frank Battistel encouraged citrus growers to remain calm, calling the hearings “the start of an extensive consultation period” in a news release.

“I urge our growers to remain calm through this period of consultation,” the statement said.  “We are studying the draft plan’s recommendations but it seems there are still many questions to be answered and it is quite a few years before this plan is due to be finalized.”

The citrus industry group plans to submit its ideas to government agencies, the statement said.

More than 1,000 people attended a hearing in Deniliquin, Australia, Wednesday, many of whom opposed the plan, ABC reported.

The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia’s “food basket” and includes parts of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

Photo: Mary Goode/


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