Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville today welcomed a decision from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) to seek to purchase water to combat severe environmental damage in the west of the State.
The VEWH is seeking to purchase the water from a large entitlement holder such as a water corporation or industry entity rather than farmers in the Grampians Wimmera Mallee system.
The VEWH has only received a seven per cent allocation of its water entitlement due to the dry conditions in the region. It is seeking to purchase up to ten gigalitres of water so it can provide drought refuges for threatened wildlife and prevent irreversible environmental damage in the Wimmera-Glenelg systems.
The water will also support and preserve recreational activities such as fishing by helping fish survive, as well as the social and environmental values that are vital to communities in the region.
There has been extensive consultation with the community in the Wimmera and Glenelg regions through Catchment Management Authorities and Water Authorities so that priorities for the environmental and social priorities for using water resources are understood.
Since 2011, the VEWH has sold more than 37 gigalitres of water in Victoria, and purchased just over 2.5 gigalitres. This purchase will be funded through these sales.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville
“The VEWH was established to maintain the health of our rivers and waterways – and this is even more important during times of extreme dry conditions like we see now in parts of the Wimmera.
“It’s vital that we support the survival of species and protect ecosystems as much as we can in the face of these extreme dry conditions.
“By working to preserve the local and regional environment, these measures are supporting parts of the State where communities are hard hit by the dry conditions.
“It’s important that we remember the important part rivers and waterways play in the social fabric of our communities and we need to protect these as much as we can – particularly during drought.”
Reviewed 10 February 2021