The irrigation system is the largest in Australia and water reform in the region is well advanced. This means there is more certainty about future access to water resources than in many other parts of Australia.
There is also a very active and transparent water trading market.
This allows farms to secure their water needs from both the entitlement they hold and by trading on the temporary market.
Even in the severe drought of 2002/2003 there were still significant amounts of water traded within the region that provided another option for farmers during periods of low feed supply.
Reliable and secure water supply
A secure water supply allows farming operations to have a high degree of control over the amount of home grown feed they will produce.
The access to irrigation water allows farmers to increase the certainty of a spring, summer, and autumn feed supply.
This reduces the seasonal feed risk to the businesses and allows for more effective planning.
However, recent years of below average rainfall have demonstrated that even with access to irrigation it is not risk free and farmers still need to implement risk management strategies in relation to their water and fodder supplies.