The Victorian Government has temporarily suspended some water allocation trade to protect next season’s allocations to Victorian water entitlement holders on the Murray system.


Minister for Water Peter Walsh today announced an immediate suspension on water allocation trade from New South Wales to Victoria and from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems to the Victorian Murray system or to interstate.


“These suspensions will be in place until 1 July 2011, but may need to be reinstated in certain circumstances,” Mr Walsh said.


Mr Walsh said high storage levels, huge volumes of unused irrigation water and Victoria’s progressive carryover rules had converged to create challenges in managing allocation trade.


“At present there are more than two million megalitres of unused irrigation water remaining on the Murray and Goulburn water systems and the temporary suspension will prevent these trades from having a negative impact on next year’s Murray allocations,” Mr Walsh said.


These trades are increasing the obligation to deliver water to users on the Murray but Victorian storages are not receiving a matching volume of water.


Mr Walsh said under the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement accounting rules, New South Wales allocation holders could transfer water to Victoria.


“Victoria can not accept any more water from New South Wales because our share of Hume Dam is full. If trade from New South Wales is not temporarily halted, the water available to Victorian irrigators in the next irrigation season will be reduced,” Mr Walsh said.


“Trade from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems will also impact on future allocations in the Victorian Murray system if trade is not temporarily suspended.


“If there is a spill from Lake Eildon in the new season, it will wipe out some or all of the water to be supplied to the Murray or interstate from the inter-valley account.”


Mr Walsh said Victoria was a strong supporter of trade and regretted the necessity to put these suspensions in place.


“It is unfair to allow trade if it is done at the expense of Victorian Murray entitlement holders,” Mr Walsh said.