Victorian irrigators will be able to access 37 gigalitres of water owned by Melbourne’s metropolitan water retailers in the northern Victorian water market from as early as this week.
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.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville said she had asked for the audit process to be fast-tracked to ensure irrigators had access to this vital water as soon as possible.
The latest audit of the Connections Project found it had achieved long-term water recovery of 378.07 gigalitres to date – and is on track to deliver its target of 429 gigalitres – which will be shared among irrigators, retailers and the environment.
The retailers share of long-term water recovery is expected to be 75 GL at the end of the project. Currently the retailers receive a share of the actual water recovery achieved in the previous year. This is made available on the market in northern Victoria – typically between 30 and 40 gigalitres. This water will be made available to the retailers this week.
Minister 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.
The Minister is hopeful more environmental water can again be made available to ease the burden on irrigators and help them prepare for the upcoming season.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“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 water to be fast-tracked to help out those doing it tough in these dry conditions.”
“I hope this additional water on the market will help ease pressure on prices – which are severely impacting those exposed to the temporary market.
“The Connections Project is a great example of how we can modernise our irrigation system and provide greater water certainty for Victorian communities in the years to come.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020