WHY is Victoria forging ahead with plans to spend about $320 million on replacing 11,000 Dethridge wheel meters?
Sure, the meters have an average 7.5 per cent bias to irrigators.
But how significant is this error in light of the failure to even measure the volume of water being diverted in other parts of the Murray Darling Basin?
The bulk of NSW and Queensland floodplain harvesting remains unmeasured - there are no meters on the vast private ring-tank dams that dot these regions.
Even South Australia only finished installing meters on many of its gravity irrigation properties last year.
Yet in Victoria, we are investing a vast sum, a once in a lifetime amount, in salvaging water that irrigators are already using.
It's time the Victorian Government, the Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project board and its managers considered putting at least some of the meter money into on-farm water savings works.
Sure, there may be some value in identifying the 2000-odd larger water users in the Goulburn Murray system and replacing their Dethridge wheels with automated, high-flow Magflo or Flumegate meters.
But there's no sense in NVIRP chasing meter error savings down to the level of small pipe outlets supplying stock and domestic water.
Putting money into on-farm water savings at a time of economic downturn would be far more beneficial to irrigators at a time when the whole community is struggling.