CICL Update December 2018
This newsletter provides Members with an update on key water issues affecting CICL and its Members’ businesses.
In this month's newsletter -
Clifford Ashby - CEO
Department of Industry Allocation announcements
High Security 95%
General Security 7%
Member Benefit 10%
Additional Offer 6%
Internal and external trade is open
Trade into the Murrumbidgee is closed.
For up to date information on the IVT go to https://www.waternsw.com.au/customer-service/ordering-trading-and-pricing/trading/murrumbidgee.
Closed Monday 24 December until 8.30am Wednesday 2 January 2019
No changes with staff contactable on M:0427544269
Operational, however, trades will not be approved and transferred to allocation accounts until Wednesday 2 January 2019
Water operations update
CICL’s Water Operations are required to place a seven day advance order with WaterNSW for our expected diversions in seven days time. This lead time is the approximate travel time for water to be released from the dams to our river off-take. Predicating our advance order is made more challenging by weather extremes, including heat and rainfall events.
Underestimating our order increases the chance of CICL having to impose water supply restrictions. This is something CICL is working hard to avoid, because of the potential negative impacts on members and crop production.
Conversely if CICL over estimates our water order and the water cannot be used by another customer, river operational losses increase. With CICL and Murrumbidgee Irrigation, two major diverters, close together, inaccurate water ordering is a major problem for the efficient operation of the Murrumbidgee River. Higher losses reduce the chance of future allocation improvements and sustained inaccuracy increases the likelihood of WaterNSW introducing water debiting.
To assist CICL’s seven day advance water order, we encourage all members to provide us with as much notice of their water orders as possible. This could include placing a start for your next irrigation cycle when you complete your current irrigation and then modify in response to weather keeping in mind our required two hour lead time.
Single Farming Unit Policy(SFU)
The CICL Board recently modified the SFU Policy to make the policy consistent with its delivery entitlement, capacity share and flow share policies. This change also makes the policy consistent with past operations.
The updated policy can be found at this link
Please note localised or channel specific restrictions access is based on the volume of Tier one delivery entitlements held on the restricted channel.
National Broadband Network (NBN) outages
CICL apologises for the recent NBN outages affecting our services, including Waterways. These outages relate to the NBN service and not to Telstra. We are currently researching options so that our services have an alternative when the NBN is not available.
Annual General Meetings (AGM's)
Thank you to those who attended our AGMs. Steve Whan, CEO of National Irrigators’ Council, proved an engaging speaker and he valued the opportunity to interact first hand with our members.
I am pleased to report that all of the motions put to members were successful. CICL and CIMCL both now have a new set of rules which can be found at this link
In addition, Sharon Smith was confirmed as a Director of CICL, replacing Grant Latta who retired after the AGM. Further information about Sharon can be found at this link
Maintenance Department is looking for "dirt"
CICL’s channels are now approaching 60 years old. If you are land-forming close to our channels and have surplus clay, CICL is interested in accessing it to assist with channel bank repairs. Please contact Kevin Kelly M: 0428 544 273.
Drainage inlet replacement
CICL is funding the replacement of drainage inlets that have reached the end of their useful life. If you can identify opportunities to relocate your existing inlet, or rationalise multiple inlets, we would be pleased to arrange a site inspection. Please contact Claire Beer M: 0427 544 626.
Customers that are users of Metolachlor are reminded to abide by chemical label conditions.
In addition you are reminded that a general prohibition on drainage into the CICLnetwork remains in force for past and present users of Metolachlor. This is to ensure that contamination levels are below CICL EPA Licence condition limits.We are pleased CICL now has four weather stations which can be accessed on the OzForecast network http://ozforecast.com.au/ and via our website.
If you have changed your cropping program to now include using Metolachlor and have not already registered as a Metolachlor user, please contact CICL on P: 02 6954 4003
Boundary Fences - whose responsibility
CICL has received some inquiries about boundary fences. The following provides some information that answers questions we have been asked. There are two main Acts regulating responsibility for boundary fences within the Coleambally Irrigation Area; The Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW), and the Local Land Services Act 2013 (NSW). Under these laws -
· landholders are required to have adequate boundary fencing;
· adjoining owners are equally liable to erect and maintain dividing fences of sufficient quality;
· CICL, LLS and Murrumbidgee Council are exempt from liability where they share common boundaries with landholders.
The key piece of legislation is the Dividing Fences Act which can be found at this link
If you require further information please contact CICL P: 02 6954 4003 and ask for someone from the Environmental Compliance team.
Customers that are users of Metolachlor are reminded to abide by chemical label conditions. You are reminded that a general prohibition on drainage into the CICL network remains in force for past and present users of Metolachlor. If you have not registered as a Metolachlor user and have changed your cropping program to include using Metolachlor, please contact CICL on P: 02 6954 4003.
This is to ensure that contamination levels are below CICL EPA Licence condition limits.
Weather station improvement reminder
Members are reminded that CICL now has four weather stations which can be accessed on the OzForecast network. These sites provide members with access to a broad coverage of weather conditions across the district including reporting of “Delta T” which is an important indicator for acceptable spray conditions. The stations can be accessed at this link https://www.colyirr.com.au/
Environmental water delivery
A “Saving Our Species” funded project has seen small volumes of environmental water delivered to Wargam Lakes and Burraburoon Swamp (via the West Coleambally Channel) this season. This water is providing vital habitat and resources to help secure the future of the endangered Southern Bell Frog. This watering of important wetlands has also benefited a significant number of other fauna with as many as 40 different birds and three different frog species being identified in a recent survey. The use of CICL’s infrastructure allows environmental water delivery to be targeted and efficient and is beneficial to members and the environment. This project is a joint project between CICL, the Office of Environment and Heritage and the landholders. Pictured below is the Southern Bell Frog and birdlife taken at the sites recently.
Staff Achievements and milestones
Steve Knight - celebrated 50 years of employment with CICL and its predecessors in October this year. Steve has just commenced semi-retirement and we wish him well.
Eric Hutchinson - celebrated 40 years of employment with CICL and its predecessors in November this year.
These milestones are remarkable and CICL and its members are the beneficiaries of both Steve and Eric’s dedication and willingness to adapt to change. I congratulate both on their milestones.
John Skinner - Operational Quality Assurance Manager, was made a Fellow of the Australian Hydrographers’ Association in November in recognition of John’s expertise and professional contribution to the Association. CICL extends its congratulations to John.
New staff- We are pleased to have engaged local farmer, Claire Beer, in a casual capacity to assist our Asset and Maintenance Department over the spring/summer.
No swimming in channels - Irrigation channels are not a safe place to swim or play. As well as the known dangers like varying water depths, submerged objects and snakes, channels have automated structures that can trap and drown you and are remotely operated resulting in unpredictable flows. I remind you that swimming in channels is prohibited.
Water safety for primary schools - CICL is financially supporting both of our primary schools to run 10 day intensive swimming programs for all students. Our goal is to encourage maximum participation in this program, but also for the program to reinforce our message that swimming in channels is prohibited because it’s dangerous.
State Government fixed charge fee waiver
CICL has delayed issuing its first quarter invoice because the administration of how the fee waiver will be passed onto CICL is still being resolved by WaterNSW.
CICL expects to resolve the detailed administration with WaterNSW shortly. Once resolved, CICL will issue its first quarter invoice, with payment due 30 days from the date of invoice.
The invoice will recognise the Government fee waiver of WaterNSW fixed charges.
Regulations made under the Water Management Act (NSW)
The Government has finalised its policy for non-urban water metering with the new Regulations effective 1 December 2018. The Regulations will apply to CICL’s off-take but not to individual customers within CICL for surface water. The implementation timeframe extends to 2023, with a large number of meters to be installed across NSW over the next five years.
The new standards will apply to groundwater licences and work approvals held by a number of our members. Further information is available at the following link
Murrumbidgee Water Resource Plan
CICL understands the draft Water Resource Plan and Water Sharing Plan will be released for public comment after the State Election in March, potentially in April or May 2019.
Murray Darling Basin Plan
The pressure is mounting on the implementation of the Basin Plan with the NSW Government commencing consultation on their Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Projects. These include projects in the Murrumbidgee catchment. The other important projects for NSW are the reconfiguration of the Menindee Lakes and projects in the NSW Murray.
The over arching goal of these projects is to invest in infrastructure and river operations changes to allow environmental water to be used more effectively or to reduce river operational losses, therefore reducing the volume of productive water required to meet the Basin Plan objectives.
CICL recognises many of these projects present challenges for riparian landholders. CICL supports the high level objective of these projects and wants to see the NSW Government develop these projects in consultation with the community in an open and transparent way.
The other important issue being considered by Governments is the criteria for investing in “efficiency” projects, often referred to as the “up-water”. CICL has argued strongly to the NSW and the Commonwealth governments that any water recovered from “efficiency” measures must only proceed if they meet a robust test for no negative social and economic impacts.
Bitterns in rice incentives survey
CICL has been a key partner of the Bitterns in Rice Project since its inception in 2012. The present focus is on developing an incentive program to reward rice growers for accommodating bitterns in and around their crops.
We are encouraging Coleambally rice growers, who grew a rice crop in 2017/18, to complete a survey about their preferences for bitterns in rice incentives so that the best possible program can be designed. The survey has been developed by Matt Herring and Charles Darwin University, and takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. Matt needs more responses to have a large enough sample for useful results. Your responses are anonymous and the password is bitternsinrice The link to the survey is below
CICL has renewed its membership with IREC which entitles our members to access IREC member events at the member rate. We encourage members to take up opportunities provided by IREC. For further information please go to IREC website at the following link https://irec.org.au/
I wish you and your families a happy and safe Christmas and New Year. I am sure I am not alone in hoping 2019 is a better growing season than 2018.
I also extend my thanks to our directors and staff for their dedication and contributions in 2018 and I look forward to CICL continuing as a strong customer focussed business in 2019.
Clifford Ashby, CEO