CICL Update May 2018
This newsletter provides Members with an update on key water issues affecting CICL and its Members’ businesses.
In this month's newsletter -
- CICL Strategic Plan 2018 - 2023
- Permanent Irrigation Display
- Water-use limit
- Metolachlor registration
- New Debtor Statements
- End of season account balances
- Non-owner authorisations and contact forms
- Foreign ownership of water entitlements register
- Winter works
- Guard rails
- Piezometer damage
- Cattle grazing on channels
- Fertigation tanks
- New Staff
- Water outlook 2018/19
- Basin Plan
- Cap factors and water security
- Other external issues
- Winter break
Department of Industry Allocation announcements
High Security 95%
General Security 41%
End of season dates
Monday 14 May
Thursday 31 May
Deliveries after 14 May
Subject to availability and interest expressed by Monday 7 May
Currently scheduled for mid-August, requires demand of at least 300ML/day
Closes 4pm Thursday 31 May
Internal and external closes 4pm on Thursday 31 May
CICL Strategic Plan 2018 - 2023
I would like to thank the Focus Group participants for their input into the CICL Strategic Plan. The Board, at its May meeting, approved the “refreshed” plan. We are currently preparing a summary document for release to Members; this document will also be available on our website. We are planning to release the updated Strategic Plan to Members in the coming months. Participants in the Focus Group will also be briefed.
Permanent Irrigation Display
If you visit our office in the coming weeks you will notice some construction work. As part of CICL’s contribution to Coleambally’s 50th Birthday celebrations we are completing a permanent irrigation display which will be located outside our office. This display chronicles the changes in irrigation water delivery over the last 50 years. The display has been designed to complement the Pioneers’ Monument display in John McInnes square and I am confident it will prove a valuable educational tool showcasing our history and the advances in irrigation delivery.
At CICL’s May Board meeting it was agreed, based on the results from the March piezometer readings (shallow groundwater depth) and the advice of the Community Environmental Reference Committee (CERC), that the water use limit of 7.2ML/ha will remain in place for 2018/19 irrigation season. If you are looking to enter into an averaging agreement for water use in 2018/19 please contact Bernie Star on T. 02 6954 4003.
Thank you to those who registered with us details of their past and proposed use of metolachlor. I encourage all irrigators to be vigilant in their use of pesticides and to proactively aim to avoid release of any potentially contaminated water into our drainage system. At the start of next irrigation season we will provide an update on the arrangements for 2018/19.
New Debtor Statements
CICL has implemented a new accounting system and all data has been migrated to the new system. Whilst we are confident that all information has migrated correctly, please review your statement details carefully and advise us if you have any queries. If you are paying your statement electronically please include the new reference at the bottom left of the statement. Single Farming Units (SFUs) are now able to make a single payment for all farms, again please use the reference at the bottom left of the statement.
End of season account balances
All customers need to finalise their end of season account balances by 4pm on Thursday 31 May 2018.
Customers with SFUs may need to distribute unused allocation between all farms in the SFU by 31 May. This will ensure you maximise your 30% carryover limit on individual farms and avoid being unnecessarily penalised for a negative water balance on individual farms.
Customers are reminded the maximum volume of carryover on general security water entitlement is 30% and there is no carryover on high security entitlements.
CICL is able to assist but will not complete the transfers required to balance accounts. Customers are encouraged to plan ahead and attend our office to finalise your arrangements. If you require further information or assistance please contact Therese Chauncy, Executive Assistant, on T. 02 6950 2821.
Non-owner authorisations and contact forms
CICL needs your assistance to ensure your contact details are correct. Privacy laws require CICL to be confident its non-owner authorisations for anyone other than the legal owner are correct. We require any properties that are operated by anyone other than the legal owner to have the owner complete a non-owner authorisation by the start of 2018/19 financial year. Forms are available from our website www.colyirr.com.au or by contacting Therese Chauncy.
Foreign ownership of water entitlements register
Foreign ownership of water entitlements register – If you are foreign owned you are required to register your irrigation rights held with the Australian Taxation Office. CICL requests any foreign owned entities that have changed their holdings of irrigation rights during the 2017/18 financial year to advise us of any changes, either when they occur or within 30 days of the end of the financial year.
The deadline for advising the ATO of changes to a foreign entity’s irrigation rights is within 30 days of the end of the financial year. More information is available from https://www.ato.gov.au/general/foreign-investment-in-australia/water-register/.
We have a number of projects planned, including road culvert extensions, which will cause some traffic disruption. Some of the sites are on the Kidman Way. CICL will endeavour to ensure works are completed efficiently to minimise traffic disruption. CICL is also focussed on completing our winter program efficiently to ensure we are prepared for an early start to the 2018/19 irrigation season, if required.
Anyone looking for more information on our winter works please contact Kevin Kelly, Asset and Maintenance Manager on M. 0428 544 273.
As previously mentioned we continue to observe damage to guard rails. Despite the installed rails meeting the required specifications, it appears that heavy machinery has been forced through/over the bridges and guard rails causing considerable damage. I would like to remind you that if CICL’s infrastructure is damaged the culprit will be responsible to pay for the repair or replacement.
Piezometer damage – CICL reads its network of 700 piezometers twice a year. Each time we take these readings we notice piezometers which have been damaged, sometime beyond repair, by farm machinery. We ask you to take more care when operating machinery around piezometers.
Cattle grazing on channels
Cattle are not to be grazed on CICL’s channels or drainage banks. This includes where the member or customer has a grazing agreement with CICL. These grazing agreements explicitly exclude cattle because of the damage cattle cause to channel banks.
If you are installing a fertigation tank on our land you are required to obtain CICL’s permission and to comply with our installation requirements listed below.
- The tank must not obstruct access to the Flumegate™. There needs to sufficient space for a utility or crane truck to be able to access the channel and structure for maintenance including weed control.
- The land surface on which the tank and equipment is placed must drain away from CICL’s channel towards the farm channel.
- If a pump is used to fill and dissolve the fertiliser, the suction must be fitted with a back flow valve or an anti-back syphon arrangement.
- The injection point must be downstream of the FlumeGate™.
Please contact Kevin Kelly on M. 0428 544 273 if you require further guidance.
CICL has welcomed three new staff. Ali Simmons joins us as a Graduate Engineer. Ali hails from the south coast of NSW and is a welcome addition to our operations team. We have also employed two locals, Tessa Evans and Cody Crouch, as Channel Technicians.
CICL is pleased we have attracted these young, enthusiastic staff to our workforce. It’s good for CICL but also for the Coleambally community.
Left to right Cody Crouch, Tessa Evans and Ali Simmons.
Water outlook 2018/19
The Department of Industry will release its final allocation update for 2017/18 on Tuesday 15 May 2018.
This update will include current information on the forecast opening allocations for the 2018/19 irrigation season. It is very clear we need a change in seasonal conditions and dam inflows to build the general security allocation for 2018/19. The Department has previously advised that carryover from 2017/18 to 2018/19 will be available and high security can expect starting allocations of 95%. Members and customers can subscribe to the Department’s updates here. CICL also forwards the updates to our Members via email.
Basin Plan – The Coalition reached agreement with Labor on implementation of the Basin Plan on Monday May 7. This agreement will allow important changes to the Basin Plan to proceed. The changes allow for a higher sustainable diversion limit provided the package of projects, agreed to by the States, when implemented, delivers on the expected environmental benefits. Regaining bi-partisan support is a turning point for the Basin Plan after the disruption caused by the Senate rejecting changes in the northern Basin. If the Greens motion to reject these changes had been successful, CICL is confident the irrigation community would have faced significant uncertainty.
Cap factors and water security
The MDBA has responded to recent media indicating the asset value of water entitlements may be impacted by changes to “Cap factors.” These factors are a measure of the average use of different entitlements and are used to measure the volume recovered for the environment from the different entitlements in the Basin. Cap factors are different to the reliability of allocations to the different entitlements which are relevant to the value. The Basin Plan is required to maintain the reliability of water entitlements.
Other external issues
In addition to the Basin Plan, CICL has been busy responding to the NSW Government’s Water Reform Action
Plan which includes:
- Water take and measurement
- Better management of environmental water
- Transparency measures
- Floodplain harvesting.
CICL supports many of the proposed actions and believes NSW’s proposed improvements to measurement of water use and compliance is long overdue. However, CICL has concerns that some of the proposed changes could impact on CICL’s access to water, for example proposed changes which would allow the new mandatory conditions to be imposed on access licences.
In addition, the government’s approach to water take and measurement needs to be revised to reflect the type of meter which is used by CICL and the other irrigation corporations with open channel offtakes.
Please note the deadlines in this update for the end of season to avoid missing the opportunity to balance your allocation accounts.
I hope we see a break in the persistent dry conditions in the near future, recognising that with cotton harvest underway we have conflicting priorities.
I am looking forward to holding a member update in June where we will release the results of the last few months’ work on our “refreshed” strategic plan.
If you would like more information about any of the articles in this update please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com
Clifford Ashby, CEO