Ryan calls for Neville to release water from Melbourne to irrigators

By Rodney Woods

Victorian Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan is continuing to pressure Water Minister Lisa Neville to release 75 Gl owned by Melbourne water corporations for farmers who need it to irrigate.

“It’s outrageous that Lisa Neville is sitting on water when farmers in northern Victoria are desperate and it clearly is not needed in Melbourne,” Ms Ryan said.

“Lisa Neville should have put this water onto the market in northern Victoria months ago, when it was clear there was no way Melbourne’s storages would be below 30 per cent at the end of November.

“If Lisa Neville has control of this water as she claims, then it’s high time it was put on the market to ease temporary water prices in the Murray and Goulburn systems to relieve the pressure on our irrigators.”

Ms Neville said the water could not be delivered until an audit into water savings was completed.

Since I have been minister I have always made it my priority to ensure the share of water savings received by Melbourne retail corporations from the Connections project is made available in northern Victoria as soon possible,” she said.

"The Independent Audit of Water Savings must be completed first so we don’t undermine the reliability for existing users.

"The amount available depends on the volumes of water delivered through the system in that year.

"It has typically been around 30 to 40 Gl per year and we expect a similar volume of water this year.

"The water is expected to be available at the start of next year, as per normal."