Nyngan farmers denied access to water

STATE Water says it is unable to release 1000 megalitres downstream to parched farmers along the Bogan River, despite fears more than 20 properties around Nyngan are at risk of drying up.

A spokesperson said farmers along the Bogan River, between Nyngan and Gunningbar Creek, had no legal access to water releases from Burrendong Dam, bringing hopes of negotiations between State Water's parent body NSW State Office of Water, and farmers, to a grinding halt.

Bogan Shire mayor Ray Donald this week called for an urgent release of 1000 megalitres from Burrendong Dam to help farmers drained of the precious resource in the wake of the January bushfires.

Cr Donald said the situation was compacted by a lack of natural inflows to that particular section of the Bogan River for more than a year.

Farmers face having no water at all for both stock and domestic use.

"It even further depleted the very meagre amount of water they already had there and I think that's another very good reason for consideration to be given to a flow to them to make up for water that was lost when it had to be used to put out the fires," Cr Donald said.

But a State Water spokesperson said it was unlikely stakeholders would give up their entitlement.

"In the right circumstances naturally occurring inflow downstream is redirected into the Albert Priest Channel for farmers in that area, but it's only in times where there is surplus flow," he said.

"They don't pay for legal access to that water. Irrigators and other water entitlement holders must pay to access the water, including fixed charges to retain accessibility even when the water isn't available."

Burrendong Dam currently sits at 41 per cent capacity but releases have trickled down from about 5000 megalitres each day during the peak season between September and January down to just 2275 megalitres in the 24 hours to Tuesday.

Releases are set to become even smaller during the coming weeks.

Farmers further west of Burrendong Dam will have to wait until the next round of negotiations under the government's Water Sharing Plan slated for later this year.

Terms under the Water Sharing Plan will lock down entitlements in the Macquarie Valley region for the next 10 years.

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