New water purchase round opens in the northern basin
The Federal Government has announced three new water purchasing tenders in the northern Murray Darling Basin.
Two tenders for water purchases in the Queensland Lower Balonne will open on September 26 and 14 November 2011, respectively. Each of these tenders will make available up to $60 million. A separate water purchase tender will open in the Namoi and Border Rivers on October 17 with up to $30 million available. Each of these water purchase tenders will be open for four weeks.
"I am determined that Murray Darling Basin reform delivers healthy rivers, strong communities and sustainable food production," Federal Water Minister Tony Burke said.
"We can achieve this by investing in infrastructure upgrades and improving the efficiency and productivity of our irrigation industry while we also recover water for the rivers."
Mr Burke reiterated the Federal Government's plans to use funds raised to deliver improved infrastructure and water management.
In addition to having local unmet environmental needs, the Lower Balonne, Border Rivers and the Namoi catchments are also well connected to the Barwon-Darling system. Purchases in these catchments can also make a contribution to the downstream needs of the Barwon-Darling system.
"These water purchase tenders will take place in northern Basin catchments with little, if any, shared water infrastructure to minimise so-called Swiss-Cheese effects," Mr Burke said.
The tenders are part of the Federal Government's $3.1 billion Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program, under its Water for the Future Initiative.
Guidelines and the application forms for the first Lower Balonne tender will be available from September 26 by calling 1800 218 478 or visiting www.environment.gov.au/waterpurchasing. Guidelines for subsequent tenders will be available through the same avenues after each tender opens.