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"Dry" NSW, Victoria review Murray-Darling flows

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An investigation into the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s water modelling is underway, with a final report due in December.

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The NSW and Victorian governments on Wednesday announced the members of the panel reviewing the authority’s modelling of flows the states are concerned won’t be achievable.

“We know there is concern in the basin communities that higher flows will have negative impacts on their land – that’s why we’re ensuring any future decisions are informed by science and best practice,” Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville said in a statement.

The two governments said in the statement they will “not inundate private land without landholders’ consent nor compulsorily acquire land or easements as part of possible adjusting physical and operational limits to higher environmental flows”.

Panel chairman Greg Wilson will be joined by George Warne and Campbell Fitzpatrick.

Wilson was the former secretary of the Department of Sustainability and Environment in charge of water reform in Victoria.

Warne is experienced in water reform, river restoration and is a former board member of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Fitzpatrick has worked in the water industry for over 30 years.

“NSW has already done the heavy lifting and our communities are suffering as a result. South Australian lower lakes are full while NSW communities are dry,” NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey said.

“This review will help us understand whether the flows are achievable during extreme conditions.”

NSW and Victoria flagged in August following a meeting of the nation’s water ministers that they would start their own review.

The panel will report its findings and any recommendations in December.

-AAP

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