Irrigators at the headwaters of the Murray Darling Basin system have expressed their frustrations after becoming the target for blame over the Menindee Lakes fish kill.
St George cotton farmer, Scott Armstrong, Sharmarel, said cotton growers had had a gutful of being blamed for issues downstream.
“Since 2015, we’ve voluntarily given up tens of thousands of megalitres of water for the environment,” he said.
“On top of that, the federal government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying water for the environment.
“It’s just been completely and utterly mismanaged to give us the results we’re seeing now, and yet the default reaction is to blame the cotton farmers.”
Mr Armstrong said the continued bashing of irrigators meant willingness to voluntarily release water was diminishing.
Smartrivers president, Frank Deshon, Nee-Nee, Dirranbandi, said he was infuriated by the continued commentary that the fish kill had nothing to do with drought.
“It’s absolutely everything to do with drought, and the lack of rainfall in our catchment and across our whole river system that has prevented any flows,” he said.
“It is distressing to see photos of the fish kill at the Darling, as it is to see kangaroos dying in the paddock and emus too poor to run away. Unfortunately, all is a result of little or no rain over a long period of time.
“It’s even sadder to see minority groups taking cheap political shots which only shift the focus away from the tragedy itself – that being a long, drawn-out drought that has engulfed us all.”