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Primary Industries and Water – Rural Water Use Strategy

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Tags: River Health, Water, Primary Industries

Ms O'CONNOR - of participants. Initially, when the Rural Water Use Strategy was delivered, it said:

Water quality management is not within the scope of the Rural Water Use Strategy.

Can we confirm that urban water management - that is, the water that we drink and have other uses for in urban settings - is now included in the Rural Water Use Strategy - and if it is now in scope, why hasn't the strategy been updated to reflect that?

Ms PALMER - I thank the member for her question. I'll refer that to the acting secretary.

Mr JACOBI - Thank. I just want to clarify that Catherine did mention that TasWater was a party to the round table -

Ms O'CONNOR - Subsequently, yes.

Mr JACOBI - I will pass to Deidre Wilson to provide more detail, thank you.

Ms WILSON - To go to your question on integrated catchment management, the rural water roundtable is inclusive. It has Hydro Tasmania, Tasmanian Irrigation, the TFGA, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, TasWater, the Local Government Association of Tasmania, NRM North, DairyTas, Landcare Tasmania, the Inland Fisheries Service, the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council and the EPA.

Before I go to your specific question, I will also point out that the rural water use roundtable has taken the opportunity to also invite groups to attend and present, to open up the discussion around water, its opportunities and challenges. For example, we've heard from Christine Coughanowr, from the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, Garry France -

Ms O'CONNOR - To one meeting.

Ms WILSON - Yes, and I intend to, two actually.

Ms O'CONNOR - Just one.

Ms PALMER - Excuse me, honourable member, I ask that you would allow her to finish without interruption.

Ms O'CONNOR - Sure.

Ms WILSON - But, my intent, as the chair of the roundtable, and I have indicated this to some of these members, is that I am available to meet with them. It will certainly be my intent to do so. In terms of your question around the Rural Water Use Strategy, I am pleased to note that the Government has released an implementation plan. I am not sure if you have had an opportunity to peruse that reading, but in that implementation plan we have a new action 1.8: improved coordination and data sharing of river health and water quality data, a new action 1.9: undertake targeted case study research and reporting to enhance understanding of drivers of change in the river health catchments in Tasmania, new action 1.10: deliver strategic directions for healthy water ways paper.

The intent through the Rural Water Use Strategy, through the implementation plan, and through the report card, is around continuous improvement and responding to the opportunities and challenges in this space.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Ms Wilson, but I have not had an answer to my question about whether urban water is now included in the Rural Water Use Strategy.

Ms WILSON - Sorry, apologies.

Ms O'CONNOR - I have been very patient and tried to be polite. Is it possible for you to answer the second question that I asked through you, minister?

Ms PALMER - I will refer that to the acting secretary.

Ms WILSON - Another one of our key initiatives was reinvigorating collaborations, partnership and engagements in water management. That includes our engagement with TasWater to understand urban water requirements. We have been meeting with the rural water use roundtable. Most recently, Catherine Murdoch and I met with the board of TasWater.

We're looking at a new science project, which is looking at catchment yield science project. This looks at contemporary predictions of climate change to update hydrological estimates of catchment yield and test catchments. This will be an important piece of work that will help us plan in the future.