Carryover is a useful management tool

By Rodney Woods

I categorically reject John Brian’s assertion that carryover is corrupt ('Irrigators sold down the river too many times’, Country News, December 17).

In my experience, carryover is a very handy management tool. It enables irrigators to plan ahead with confidence and set themselves up for the next autumn.

I believe carryover must be retained despite calls for its abolition by persons who appear not to understand how it works.

This was plainly evident at the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) water trading inquiry in Shepparton on November 13.

I reject Mr Brian’s claim that carryover water is transferred to the environment from farmer allocations. It is not.

The Commonwealth and Victorian Environmental Water Holders manage water owned by the environment which was acquired by agreement with the seller, not by coercion or expropriation.

Yes, I think that the environment has too much but that is another argument.

The environmental water holders are able to utilise carryover exactly the same as irrigators.

Should the relevant storage fill and spill carryover is lost.

It is wrong to claim that carryover is taking up space that irrigators could utilise. The beauty of carryover is that it is stored in less-than-full dams.

If the dams fill, the carryover is spilled and the new water flowing in is allocated to entitlement holders, irrigators and the environment, in the usual manner.

I am not sure how Mr Brian calculated that Victorian irrigators have received only 67 per cent of their allocations since 2007. It is a distinctly dodgy statistic.

Bearing in mind that there have been only a couple of years in which irrigators have not received 100 per cent of their high-security entitlement, I assume he has lumped in low-security water.

That is a bit devious. Everyone knows that low security is available only in wet years or the season following high inflows in a similar way that the previous “sales” allocations were not guaranteed and did not always reach 100 per cent.

When “sales” allocations were high, it was at the expense of irrigators who lost what they had paid for at the end of the previous season because there was no ability to carryover.

Goulburn-Murray Water could then allocate that water again as “sales”. The present system is much fairer.

Those who want to strangle carryover should be careful what they wish for.

The result would be irrigators like me would be in the temporary market pushing up prices for everyone. With carryover, I am one less competitor in the water market.

Bill Baxter