Basin Plan, Water managment

GMW Connections project: $400m of water savings up for grabs

22 March 2018

Peter Hunt, The Weekly Times
22 March 2018

NORTHERN Victorian irrigators are locked in a debate on the distribution of up to $400 million worth of high-reliability water entitlements, due to them under the $2 billion Goulburn Murray Water Connections project.
“It should be delivered back to irrigators on our delivery shares,” Murrabit irrigator Andrew Leahy said.

Distribution of the 75,000 megalitres of the project’s water savings against 15,000 delivery shares would deliver irrigators about five megalitres of entitlements for each share, equal to about $15,000 to $20,000. Mr Leahy is open about his ownership of 19 delivery shares, but is not alone in being one of minority of larger Goulburn Murray Irrigation District irrigators who use most of its water and pay most of its ongoing infrastructure costs.

Recent analysis shows 64 per cent of GMW’s water shares are held on 10 per cent of its channel network by the region’s medium to large-scale irrigators.

Mr Leahy and Victorian Farmers Federation Water Council chairman Richard Anderson said Southern Rural Water had already set a precedent that the north should follow, allocating water savings from its modernisation works to irrigators based on delivery shares held.

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