Water sale in Murray and Goulburn systems could run until June 2023

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) intends to sell up to 45,000 ML of environmental water allocation (temporary trade) from the Murray and Goulburn systems between January and June 2023.

VEWH Co-CEO Beth Ashworth said the VEWH was expecting that all planned environmental watering for northern Victoria would be achieved in 2022-23 and into 2023-24.

“To date, more than 95% of watering actions planned to be delivered in northern Victoria have been achieved through naturally occurring high flows or deliveries of environmental water before floods started,” Ms Ashworth said.   

“Environmental water deliveries from July 2022 in northern Victoria were low in response to wet conditions, and during September to November 2022 the majority were paused as above average rainfall continued and floods commenced,” Ms Ashworth said.

“Our demand and supply assessment confirms the VEWH has sufficient water to deliver priority watering actions for the remainder of 2022-23 and into the following watering year,” Ms Ashworth said.

These watering actions may also have a role in helping mitigate flooding impacts and enhancing ecological benefits as flood waters subside.

For example, environmental watering to support bird breeding that is currently occurring in Barmah Forest, helping maintain bank stability on the Goulburn River and localised watering if possible to help manage dissolved oxygen blackwater events as we move into the warmer months.

“A sale will also reduce the risk that water for the environment being carried over into 2023-24 will be lost to spill,” Ms Ashworth said.

The VEWH flagged that it would consider selling water in northern Victoria in our annual water allocation trading strategy released in July 2022.”

The VEWH, as a public organisation, takes care to avoid affecting other water market participants when undertaking commercial water trading.

“We conduct weekly assessments of market activity before releasing water to the market to ensure the VEWH alone does not affect market dynamics and pricing, and the sale of up to 45,000 ML will be staggered to minimise impacts,” Ms Ashworth said.

The water allocation will be progressively made available through selected brokers and online exchanges.

The revenue from the sale of water will be used to improve the outcomes of environmental watering in Victoria, in line with the VEWH’s statutory obligations.

Role of the VEWH

  • The Victorian Environmental Water Holder is an independent body, established by the Victorian Government in 2011, responsible for managing Victoria’s environmental water entitlements.
  • Under the Victorian Water Act 1989, the VEWH can buy, sell or exchange water to meet environmental needs.
  • For general information on environmental water trade and sales refer to www.vewh.vic.gov.au/watering-program/trading.
  • The VEWH’s annual water allocation trading strategy provides an overview of potential allocation trading activities that may be undertaken by the VEWH in 2022-23 and provides an  overview of how the VEWH may conduct trades throughout the year. Refer to: VEWH-water-allocation-trade-strategy-2022-23.pdf

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