More than nine thousand farming properties in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) will be surveyed during the next three months to determine changes in land and water use.
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Sustainable Irrigation Manager Carl Walters said drought, flood, international markets, and changes in water and planning policy in the past decade had altered farming practices in the region.
“The data collected during the Irrigated Land and Water Use Mapping survey will, among other things, be used to help analyse possible impacts and benefits of irrigation modernisation and Murray-Darling Basin Plan water recovery,” Mr Walters said.
The survey has two stages. The first stage involves a drive-by of all irrigation properties in the GMID region to determine land use (ie dairy, cropping, horticulture etc).
The second stage involves detailed one-to-one surveys with up to 600 irrigators (selected according to survey criteria such as location, enterprise and property size) to discuss topics including farm irrigation infrastructure upgrades, modernisation and current water and land management practices.
“The survey is timed to coincide with the upcoming round of council valuations,” Mr Walters said.
“So as well as charting changes in property value and sales trend for councils we will collect data on land and water use change and on-farm infrastructure investment that will inform current modernisation, regional development and national water policy objectives. It will also provide a snapshot of the region’s farming sector halfway through the roll out of modernisation and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,’’ Mr Walters said.
The survey is being undertaken by the HMC Property Group on behalf of the Goulburn Broken CMA, North Central CMA, Goulburn-Murray Water, Goulburn-Murray Water Connections, Dairy Australia, Murray Dairy, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.
It is expected results will be analysed by June 2016.