Farmers had a chance to put their two-cents in the proposed water metering framework at a community consultation in Moree last Thursday.
The NSW Department of Industry Water hosted the meeting in Moree, the first of six stops around the state in a bid to canvass community input.
“The community consultation is to find out whether the proposal is practical and how it can be implemented effectively,” Water Renewal Taskforce group director Emma Solomon said.
Ms Solomon identified multiple key points of the proposal.
A meter will not be required if a surface water user has less than 100mm works, and a ground water user has less than 200mm works.
“We want to capture as much water as we can, without burdening the smaller users,” Ms Solomon said.
“The proposal is not focused at basic land holder rights, but for people who use water commercially,” Ms Solomon said.
Farmers who already have a water meter may not need to install a new one, so long as it meets the requirements.
“If you have a meter that gives an accurate reading within a five per cent window, you won’t need to replace it,” Ms Solomon said.
“But you will still need to add things like a data logger, tamper proof seal, and possibly telemetry.”
Ms Solomon pointed out that a concern raised earlier in the year, was the high cost projection of telemetry.
“Investigations show that the cost is not as high as people would have you believe. Even in mobile areas, you are only sending off a small amount of data, which would not be a big cost.”
The community consultation is to find out whether the proposal is practical and how it can be best implemented effectively.Emma Solomon
Under the proposal, the meters would also be privately-owned. It is argued this would provide greater choice and flexibility for licence holders. The water user would also be held solely responsible for the meter.
A roll-out plan was also tabled, of which waters users would need to meet the new requirements over a five year period.
Surface water users with 500mm works or more would have to meet the requirements as early as December 2019.
The next consultation will be held Tuesday September 4 at Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club between 12 and 2.30pm.