Water

Nats pledge carryover review

By Country News

If elected at the November state election, a Liberal Nationals government will review carryover water in northern Victoria to make sure the rules are working in the best interests of water users.

Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan said the review would look into whether current carryover rules on the Goulburn, Murray and Campaspe systems could better reflect the way water use, storage and trade had changed in the past decade.

Carryover rules allow water entitlement holders to take unused water allocations from one season into the next, with the carryover water available for their own use or to trade.

‘‘Carryover was introduced at the height of the drought in 2007 to help manage risk,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘Since then the way we use, trade and store water has changed a lot and we need to make sure the rules accurately reflect that change.

‘‘A Liberal Nationals government will review carryover rules to make sure we have a system that’s fair and equitable for our irrigators, the environment and other water users.

‘‘More than a decade since carryover rules were introduced, it’s time stakeholders get a chance to have their say.’’

The review will examine whether carryover has increased the frequency of spills from northern Victoria’s water storages and, if so, seek to quantify what benefit that has to the environment.

It will also seek to identify whether carryover has reduced entitlement allocations of either high- or low-reliability water through increased spills.

The committee will include irrigator representation.

‘‘It’s vital we get the balance right to secure the future of Victoria’s irrigation communities,’’ Ms Ryan said.