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While metering can provide objective, scientific information to guide water resource management decisions, the benefits of metering in providing this information must be weighed up against the significant costs on bore owners of doing so.

As a basic right with intrinsic volume limits linked to the number of animals that would be normally grazed on the land, water used for livestock and farm domestic purposes should not be metered unless the landholder voluntarily chooses to do so. AgForce has consistently argued that stock and domestic use of water does not pose a significant risk to the growth of water take in Queensland catchments and it therefore would not justify the cost of regulating this activity.

Sustainable grazing capacity of various land types is well known as are the required livestock water intakes under a range of environmental conditions. So the potential total take of water can already be reasonably accurately estimated and due to its self-regulating nature livestock and domestic takes of water do not pose a significant over-extraction risk. Further, AgForce has supported the current exclusion of these basic rights from water pricing.

Monitoring needs to be cost-effective and risk-proportionate when paid for by water users, targeting those areas of greatest risk of over-allocation or unsustainable use. As monitoring of water use contributes to public policy decisions and sustainable access for all users a contribution by government to monitoring costs is appropriate. As an enabler of water allocation trading and to support sustainable resource management, AgForce supports metering of irrigator water use.


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