VEWH to sell water

VEWH to sell surplus water by tender


Water
WATER SALE: Wood ducks in the Barmah Forest. The Victorian Environmental Water Holder is offering excess allocation, for sale by tender.

WATER SALE: Wood ducks in the Barmah Forest. The Victorian Environmental Water Holder is offering excess allocation, for sale by tender.

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Reduced bird breeding in the Barmah Forest sees the VEWH sell surplus water

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The Victorian Environmental Water Holder is selling a small portion of its allocation, in the northern Victorian water market.

VEWH chairperson Denis Flett said the latest assessment showed all priority watering actions, planned for dry conditions, could be achieved this year.

The VEWH was able to sell 10 Gigalitres of water through selected brokers.

“We didn’t need all the water we’d set aside to support bird breeding at Barmah Forest this year because only a small number of waterbirds bred,” Mr Flett said.

“Our other waterings are progressing well, so we’ve decided to make some unused water available for sale.

“We’ll use our experience with trade since 2012 to make sure that our actions won’t have any significant adverse impacts on other water market participants and we will monitor trading conditions over the coming months,” Mr Flett said.

The decision to sell was made to manage the VEWH's available water for the greatest environmental benefit across Victoria.

Mr Flett said there was enough water available, to carry over for critical watering, in 2019-20.

“We’ve seen the impact of drought, and no flows in the Darling River in New South Wales," Mr Flett said.

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

Mr Flett said the VEWH’s believed there was very little risk that selling the water would affect its ability to provide necessary flows, next year.

Revenue raised from the sale would be invested in projects planned to boost native fish populations in northern Victoria, like works to improve fish habitat and movement.

The sale would also support irrigators and other water users, ahead of autumn watering.

“We are aware that current market conditions are challenging for many buyers,” Mr Flett said.

“Making this water available now will help meet some of the demand for autumn irrigation and carryover into next year.”

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

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.

“We’ll use our experience with trade since 2012 to make sure that our actions won’t have any significant adverse impacts on other water market participants and we will monitor trading conditions over the coming months,” Mr Flett said.

H2OX Business Development manager Craig Feuerherdt said the sale was unlikely to have a significant impact, on the market.

“The question is how are they going to do it?” Mr Feuerherdt said.

“It’s always the how, are they going to put out a certain amount a week, or tender the whole ten gigalitres?

“I can’t see how much impact it would make on the market, as that 10GL would be absorbed pretty quickly.”

He said it was likely some of the water would be taken up as carryover, to top up accounts.

“Normally, these tenders attract low ball offers, but the price it goes for is usually the price that is trading in the market anyway, as that’s where the market is.”

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