Up to 12,000 megalitres of Murray allocation in zone seven (below the Barmah choke) will be made available through selected brokers and online exchanges from April 2022, supporting irrigators and other water users ahead of autumn watering and carryover planning.
VEWH co-chief executive Dr Sarina Loo said the VEWH’s most recent demand-supply assessment has showed that all priority environmental watering actions are able to be achieved this year.
The VEWH has sufficient carryover and new allocations forecasted in 2022-23 to meet priority demands next year.
“With the help of our partners, we have delivered significant volumes of water for the environment across northern Victoria this year, to maximise the environmental outcomes that come with wetter conditions.”
“Our northern rivers and places like the Hattah Lakes, Barmah and Gunbower forests, the Kerang Lakes and other wetlands are showing some great results from our environmental watering over the past year.”
“We’ve seen terrific wetland and aquatic vegetation growth during spring and summer, which is critical habitat for water bugs, frogs, waterbirds, native fish and many other animals.”
Water for the environment had also supported successful waterbird breeding events and the VEWH was looking to enhance native fish dispersal, following successful breeding in spring.
Dr Loo said the sale was the first since autumn 2019 and followed a return to higher water availability for all water users over the past two years.
The VEWH flagged that it would consider selling water in northern Victoria in its annual trading strategy released last year.
“We continually manage our water closely to get the best possible outcomes from what we have available to us, be that use, carryover or trade,” Dr Loo said.
“We assess conditions in the water market to ensure that our trading won’t have any significant adverse impacts on other market participants, and we will continue to monitor trading conditions over the coming months.
“We’ve had a health check on our approach to the market conducted by independent auditors, who gave it a clean bill of health.”
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.