States push for more water control
State governments are set to win more control over multimillion-dollar water-saving infrastructure projects across the Murray-Darling under a new deal being discussed with the Commonwealth.
In return for more autonomy in controlling the water systems, states would be obliged to guarantee increased water savings through new projects that will be funded under the Federal Government's $5.8 billion infrastructure plans.
Under any agreement, the Federal Government would select which initiatives and projects to fund while state governments would carry out the project management.
The plan, first announced in meetings of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in May, follows years of bickering between state and federal governments over control of the river systems, resulting in delays and ineffective measures in dealing with environmental and irrigation flows.
The Federal Minister for Water, Tony Burke, said ''While it's great that some projects are under way, I've been frustrated by how long it is taking to get infrastructure money out the door.
''I am working with the states on developing an outcomes-based model for infrastructure spending. This would give the states greater flexibility over future projects and the Commonwealth more certainty on the return of water for the environment."