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E HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> 13th February 2003 From: Mark Bramston []
Sent: Saturday, 15 February 2003 8:46 AM
To: RRAT, Committee (SEN)
Subject: Senate inquiry Water Usage.doc

ABN 75 951 271 684

Registered Office:  Brolga Place, Coleambally 2707

Phone 02 6954 4003 - Fax 02 6954 4321


13th February 2003




The Secretary,

Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee

Suite SG.62

Parliament House




Re: Inquiry into Rural Resource Usage


I wish to make the following brief statements relating to the Coleambally Irrigation District (CID), and our rural community, in the context of your Committees terms of reference.


  • The CID was established by the NSW Government in the 1960s associated with the concluding stages of the Snowy Hydroelectric Scheme development. The irrigation scheme is centred on the township of Coleambally.
  • The NSW bulk water licence provides Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Limited (CICL) with access to 632,000 Ml of water, annually, subject to climate availability. CICL uses this licence to provide services to 437 farms and to support a rural community of approximately 2500 persons.
  • The bulk licence usage component contains approval to service 110,000 Ha of intensively irrigated cropping land the supports livestock industries, broad area cropping and specialty horticultural production. This use right is supported by a land and water management plan (LWMP), which has operated effectively since 1994, to provide a range of services to landholder irrigators that promote sustainable farm management practices.
  • In response to this LWMP the water usage history of the CID has progressively declined, continually improved, and lead to the introduction of world class water efficiency technologies (eg TCC and SCADA[1]) and more efficient cropping programs at the farm level.
  • There are a number of optimising concepts are being pursued to further the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices by irrigators. These concepts include:
  1. The replacement of instantaneous sampling metering devices with continuously recording volumetric metering equipment in all open channel structures. Particularly where water is supplied for consumptive use.
  2. The adoption of continuous monitoring of specific data, as opposed to generic data, for the management and control of open channel waterways (river operations). I.e. replacing manual systems with automatic systems that use continuous automated intelligence and adaptive learning.
  3. The direct facilitation of crop changes from low value added to high value added ($/Ml) returns by introducing value added supply chain opportunities to landholders in the form of partnerships or direct equity opportunities. (eg CICLs purchase of Excello)
  4. The adoption of long term planning models focused on infrastructure life (50 to 100 years) and real replacement costs to provide for intergenerational equity and market pricing for irrigation water use.

Coleambally Irrigation can provide you with additional information on each of the above concepts and additionally provide extant examples of each optimising concept.


With regard to other matters, your committee may wish to consider concurrently with these optimising concepts I highlight the following issues for rural communities:

  • The provision of vital supporting infrastructure to enable water use efficiency optimising initiatives to be implemented. For example, the needs of rural communities that currently have access to water for natural gas pipelines to provide efficient energy costs to support changes in water use efficiency.
  • Modern medical facilities and trained doctors. These essential services are needed to attract the skilled staff that is required to operate and service the above optimising technologies and their associated changes (on farm and within the rural community).
  • Water security and property rights in water that support and match the investment horizons for technologies used on water infrastructure to provided the necessary efficiency gains in consumptive use.


CICL currently provides a wide range of information on the changes being made to rural water use and sustainable farming practices on our web site   I will be pleased to provide your committee with additional information if requested.


Yours sincerely,





Mark Bramston