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Growers plead for drainage scheme fix

Tuesday March 12, 2013 - 11:41 EDT

A growers' group at Koo Wee Rup in Gippsland is calling for an urgent overhaul of the district's drainage system, saying it is ineffective and jeopardising the asparagus industry.

A Victorian Government committee is investigating the management and maintenance of rural drainage.

The Australian Asparagus Council at Koo Wee Rup has used the inquiry to call for urgent maintenance of its drainage system.

More than 90 per cent of Australia's asparagus is grown in the region but floods have decimated yields in recent years.

The group says environmental overlays are preventing proper maintenance of the district's drains.

Grower Joe Vizzari says the prospect of losing crops to further floods will drive farmers away.

"Unfortunately it's getting to the stage that we can't farm this area," Mr Vizzari said.

Melbourne Water, which manages the drainage system, says it must find the balance between environmental and farming concerns.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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