“Due to the two-year drought and the low water distribution, only 50,000 tonnes of travel will be harvested this year, far short of the 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes needed to supply the internal market,” Massina said. He argued that any water supplied to an important commodity, such as rice, would allow irrigation facilities to set aside more water for other products or industries. According to the guidelines, farmers who had “more than one gigalitre for the delivery of the current water year – by transfer or allocation – to the allocation account” are not eligible. “South Australia`s water supply needs to be protected and we cannot afford to lose 60GL more so that upstream farmers can have some water,” said Senator Hanson-Young. Calls are being made for a reallocation of the Water for Food programme to provide irrigation facilities for the cultivation of essential raw materials such as rice. “We are not necessarily in favour, in the long run, of water being allocated to certain crops, because we think farmers should be left to decide what they are using it.” Milk producers, for example, could use it to feed their own herds, but this will encourage many farms to increase their incomes while providing food for drought-ravaged areas. “This water must be used for the production of feed or pasture. Food can`t be a by-product,” Ley said. National Fools Council CEO Steve Whan said that, given the improved conditions, it might not be the only priority of necessity, suggesting that the 60GL left in the Water for Fodder program could also go towards growing staple foods such as rice. “These may include remote sensors, on-site visits, measurement data verification, bank statements for the allocation account and all other applicant`s water allocation accounts, invoices, photos and operating investigations,” the guidelines state. In the first cycle of the program, 40GL of water was released on 800 irrigation systems, while the second round, which will be allocated over the next year of water, will offer up to 60GL.
The federal government has moved away from plans to provide 100 gigalitres (GLs) of water to farmers to grow food for their livestock and has indefinitely postponed a decision on the future of its water for food program. Steve Whan, Executive Director of the National Irrigators Council, said that with improved conditions in the coastal areas of NSW and Victoria, food may not be the only high priority demand. In accordance with the guidelines, a number of compliance and enforcement measures will ensure that water is used for forage and pasture cultivation. In a statement by Pitt and Speirs, both governments said the revision of the first round showed that more than 80 percent of those who received the water would apply again to the occasion. Irrigation facilities can request the allocation of 50 megalitres of water, which will be made available by the South Australian government for USD 100/megalitre. The audit showed that the program could be restarted if more water was available. In a statement, Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt said they would await the results of a first-round water for Fodder poll before making decisions on the changes needed in collaboration with the South Australian government. The first round of the Water for Food program was greatly overestimated and many farmers missed subsidized water, while some felt it had been made available too late to provide practical assistance. “As we have always said, we would review the program before starting the second round to assess water availability in the Murray-Darling Basin, the effects of various water-dependent industries and the protection of water safety Insouth Australias,” Speirs said.