More water for northern Victorian irrigators

By Rodney Woods

Northern Victorian irrigators will have access to 37 Gl of water owned by Melbourne’s metropolitan water retailers who are in the water market.

The water is held against the Melbourne retail water corporations share of water savings in the $2 billion Connections Project and is released annually following an audit of the year’s water savings.

Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville said she asked for the audit process to be fast-tracked to ensure irrigators had access to this vital water as soon as possible, which they will have as early as this week.

Ms Neville has also written to the Victorian and Commonwealth Environmental Water Holders – asking them to explore any opportunities to trade environmental water holdings into the market.

Last season, the VEWH sold 10 000 megalitres of allocation in northern Victoria, which provided an opportunity for irrigators completing autumn watering to secure more water or choose to carry-over into the new season.

Ms Neville is hopeful more environmental water can again be made available to ease the burden on irrigators and help them prepare for the upcoming season.

“Ever since I’ve been minister I’ve made it my mission to ensure as much water as possible is available to northern irrigators – and in this instance I asked for the Connections (Project) water to be fast-tracked to help out those doing it tough in these dry conditions," Ms Neville said.

“I hope this additional water on the market will help ease pressure on prices – which are severely impacting those exposed to the temporary market."

Long-term water recovery is expected to be 75 Gl at the end of the Connections Project.

To read more, pick up a copy of next week's (December 31) paper.