Flowing: New water licences to pump from the Merri River during a winterflow period will be put up for auction next month.SOUTH-west dairyfarmers are expected to show strong interest inSouthernRural Water’s (SRW) auction next month of water licences totalling 590 megalitres (ml) from the Merri River catchment.
The winterfill licencesare the first new licences forMerri Riverwater to be made available for several years and follow lengthy consultations with stakeholders since the late 1990s.
The closing date for expressions of interest in the licences ison Friday, April 23.
SRW groundwater and rivers acting general manager Chris Hughes said the online auction of the licences, to be held between May 2-6,had attracted bids and he expected most of them were from dairy farmers wanting to fill dams.
Mr Hughes said the price for the licences would be determined by “the market.”
He said arange of volume lots would be offered in the online auction.
An advertisement for the expression of interest said water parcels from 10 megalitres to 150 megalitres would be offered.
The advertisement also said the licences might be issued for an initial period of five years after which they might be renewed in accordance with regulations.
Mr Hughes expected the sale of the water licences would prompt significant farm dam construction activity in the Merri River catchment area.
Some successful bidders might “already havedams. Others may need to build them,” Mr Hughes said.
The new licences will allow licence holders to only pump from the Merri River between July 1 and October 31 when minimum passing flow requirements at aWoodford gauging site have been met.
Mr Hughes said the water was being made available as part of the Western Region Water Strategy that soughta balance between environmental objectives and equitable sharing of water between all users.
The strategy calls for the Merri to havea minimum summer flow of 10ML per dayover a five-day rolling average and fordiversions from the river to stop if the minimum instantaneous summer flow fellbelow 8ML aday duringNovember-June. Diversions from the river will also stopif the minimum instantaneous winter flow fromJuly-Octoberfalls below 43ML aday.
The restriction to July-October pumpingmeanssuccessful bidders will be unable to use the water to quicklyrespond to this year’s ongoing dry conditions.
However Mr Hughes saidSRW hadbeen encouraging transfers of water allocations to customers wanting more water. It had also contacted customers who mightbe interested in trading their water, he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.