Skip to content
   
 

Why is the VEWH selling water now?

The 10 gigalitres we’re making available for sale was planned to support bird breeding at Barmah Forest in January-February. In the end it wasn’t needed because the numbers of colonial nesting waterbirds like royal spoonbills and ibis were low in wetlands that can receive environmental flows.

Our latest assessment shows we have enough water available for this year’s watering and to carry over for essential watering in 2019-20 under forecast dry and drought scenarios.

We believe we can get a better result for the environment by investing the revenue from the sale in projects to boost native fish populations in northern Victoria.

We are aware that current market conditions are challenging for many buyers. Making this water available now will help meet some of the demand for autumn irrigation and carryover into next year.

We weren’t able to sell water earlier during spring, as all our available water at that time was committed to priority environmental watering actions planned under dry conditions.

As the year has progressed, seasonal determinations have slowly improved and many of our planned watering activities have been completed. We now have a better understanding of our forecast environmental demands next year and the Northern Victorian Resource Manager has released its water availability outlook for the 2019-20 season.

Why isn’t this water needed for the environment when it’s so dry? How do you know you won’t need it next year?

The VEWH plans ahead for drought, dry, average and wet to very wet scenarios. We constantly assess demand and supply of water for the environment so that our water use, carryover and trade work for different seasonal conditions.

This is the same approach that other water users take to make the best use of their water entitlements.

Our latest assessment shows we have enough water available for this year’s watering and to carry over for essential watering in 2019-20 under forecast dry and drought scenarios.

We believe we can get a better result for the environment by investing the revenue from the sale in projects to boost native fish populations in northern Victoria.

Why are you selling water when there has been a major fish death event in the lower Darling River? Isn’t the water needed for fish?

The water the VEWH is selling is held in Victoria’s share of the River Murray system in storages like Hume Dam, and cannot be delivered to the Darling River.

The VEWH’s main priority during dry conditions is to make sure environmental flows work across Victoria to provide refuges for plants and animals, avoid critical loss of species and improve resilience in rivers and wetlands.

Being able to sell small volumes of water allocation and invest the revenue in projects in northern Victoria like fishways, fish screens, habitat restoration, technical assessments and monitoring helps to do this.

How can people access the water being sold in March?

The VEWH will make up to 10 gigalitres of Murray water allocation available through several established market intermediaries, like water brokers and web-based water exchanges from 18 March 2019.

The water allocation is available in Victorian trading zones 6 or 7 (River Murray).

Brokers selected by VEWH must be members of the Australian Water Brokers Association to help ensure they are operating with a high standard of ethics and business practices.

Will this sale adversely impact the water market?

Water set aside for the environment has strict rules governing its sale so that any trade protects the environment, is in the public interest, and has no adverse impacts on the community.

When the VEWH trades water, it is made available to the open market in ways to avoid adverse impacts and maintain fairness for all water users.

The VEWH flagged that it would consider selling water in northern Victoria in its annual trading strategy released last year in July 2018.

What will the revenue be spent on?

Funds from any sales are used to improve the health of Victoria’s waterways, consistent with the VEWH’s legal obligations.

The revenue from the sale of this 10 GL will be invested in projects to boost native fish recovery in northern Victoria, such as fishways or habitat restoration.

Has the VEWH bought or sold water in the past?

Since its commencement, the VEWH has bought and sold water allocation in water systems around Victoria, including the Murray, Goulburn, Loddon, Wimmera-Glenelg, Werribee and Maribyrnong systems.  Figure 2 shows the relative volumes of allocation bought and sold each year.

In northern Victoria since 2012, the VEWH has sold over 72,000 ML in the Murray and Goulburn systems (including 20,000 ML in 2016-17 and 15,000 ML in February 2018), and bought 300 ML in the Loddon system.

How do we use trade and carryover in environmental watering?

Water trading is buying, selling or exchanging rights to water. The VEWH trades water allocations to ensure water for the environment is available when and where it is most needed to improve the health of Victoria's waterways.

The VEWH plans for drought, dry, average and wet scenarios, and is constantly assessing environmental water demand and supply to adapt its water use, carryover and trade to seasonal conditions. Trade and carryover are critical tools to help the VEWH manage variable water availability across years.

The VEWH publicly communicates its trade intentions at the start of each water year through an annual Water Allocation Trading Strategy. This strategy covers the trading activity that VEWH may undertake in each region, depending on priority environmental demands, climatic conditions and other factors.

More information: