If more water is taken away from the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, the trend of farmers leaving the dairy industry will continue, according to Katunga dairy farmer and Australian Dairy Industry Council Water Taskforce chair Daryl Hoey.
Mr Hoey was adamant that no more water could leave the region if farmers were to survive.
‘‘The dairy industry is past the tipping point of water leaving the area,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to have enough water in the system for prices to be reasonable.
‘‘Those farmers that don’t have enough water now are already in the market for water that isn’t going to be there. That makes it difficult to maintain, let alone expand. Expanding will be impossible.
‘‘There’s no doubt it will put more pressure on them and other businesses that rely on water and we will see more farmers leave the region,’’ he said.
Mr Hoey said decision-makers needed to find alternatives, with studies showing social and economic hardship.
‘‘Studies have shown job losses and production is down and that any more (water) out of the consumptive pool will lead to jobs and production being further impacted.
‘‘All (studies are) pretty certain it (450Gl) can’t be delivered without socio-economic impact.
‘‘A non-negotiable is the positive or neutral impact jurisdictions.
‘‘They need to work hard to find water savings from other places, rather than out of the consumptive pool — the irrigators’ pool.’’
■The next meeting of the Commonwealth and state water ministers will be held in Albury on December 19.