Goulburn to Murray trade and Murray delivery risk

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Key messages:

  • The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have conducted a review of inter-valley trade between the Goulburn and Murray.
  • Delivery risks on the Lower Murray are increasing for several reasons, including that total deliveries (irrigation, environmental, and other consumptive use) in the Lower Murray have increased in recent years.
  • As water availability is subject to the sustainable diversion limit cap, to meet increasing deliveries total demand for trade from Victorian and NSW tributaries (E.g. Goulburn, Murrumbidgee) to the Lower Murray has increased, resulting in unsustainably high flows in the lower Goulburn throughout summer and autumn.
  • Allowing more water to be traded than can be delivered increases the risk that water may not be able to be delivered in Lower Murray zones.
  • Through the proposed changes DELWP aims to strike a balance between protecting the lower Goulburn River from sustained high flows over summer and autumn, while maximising trade opportunity without increasing delivery risks in the Murray River.
  • DELWP have investigated a range of options for allocation trade rules, regulation of tagged use and river operating rules and have developed a preferred option which will:
    • Enable approximately 130 GL of trade per season from the Goulburn to the Lower Murray (for comparison, recent volumes have been as high as 250 GL in 2017-18 driven by drought in NSW, in years prior to 2017-18 the range was 80 GL to negative 40 GL).
    • Maintain the ecological values of the Lower Goulburn (using lower base flows and pulses)
    • Restrict tagged use to operate within new Goulburn to Murray IVT rules
    • Define the Lower Broken Creek as part of the Murray System, while recognising water used in the Lower Broken Creek is not delivered through the lower Goulburn
  • DELWP propose to have a transition year in the 2021-22 season, followed by the new arrangements coming into full effect the following year (2022-23).
  • DELWP are also investigating raising some in channel irrigation pumps along the lower Goulburn which would allow the proposed pulses to be higher in the future. This could increase net annual trade to 205 GL whilst still maintaining flows within ecological tolerances.
  • DELWP are holding a number of online drop in Q&A sessions, details of which can be found on the Engage Victoria website, or by emailing [email protected]. Please join one of these session if you would like the opportunity to ask the team any questions about the Goulburn to Murray trade review.
  • The Goulburn to Murray trade review Regulatory Impact Statement, summaries and supporting documents can also be found on the Engage Victoria website, as well as information about making submissions and online public consultation sessions.


For more information, watch the webinar recording above, view the presentation slides or visit the Engage Victoria website.

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