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Mitchell winterfill

12 November 2020

Traditional Owner water – 2 GL

The Victorian Government is making two gigalitres of water available from the Mitchell River to Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC).This is a significant milestone for Traditional Owners, as the first time that water has been made available to Traditional Owners in this way. The Victorian government remains committed to advancing self-determination for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians. 

Southern Rural Water (SRW) is committed to fostering mutually respectful working relationships with Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal communities, and in working together to help them achieve their objective of access to water for cultural and economic uses. 

20 November 2020

Winterfill allocation applications – 4 GL

Southern Rural Water will progressively release the remaining 4 GL of unallocated winterfill water allocation in two tranches, reflecting demand and ensuring equitable distribution of the resource for all interested parties.

The first 2 GL is now available to the market through an application, from which SRW will assess eligibility to participate. Depending on demand, sales will be either by auction or tender.

  • 2 GL (2,000 megalitres ML) winterfill water in the Mitchell Basin is available for applications for take-and-use licence.
  • Applications will open on Monday 23 November and close 5pm 21 December 2020.
  • The remaining 2 GL of winterfill water will be offered under a similar market-based approach at a later point next year.
  • Winterfill water can only be harvested when flows are above 1,400 ML/day at the Glenaladale gauging station, between 1 July and 31 October each year.
  • Depending on circumstances, this may mean that licence-holders will need to construct new off-stream dams to store this water for later use in the drier months.

Sustainable Diversion Limits assessments will apply in this allocation process to determine the availability of water at different locations within the catchment, and any water allocated must be appropriately metered.

Please note: Water is not available in all sub-catchments. Please contact SRW if you have specific questions about availability of winterfill water on your property.

Who is eligible to participate in the process?

  • Landowners on the Mitchell River system or its tributaries who are eligible to be issued with a s51 licence at this time on the Mitchell Basin.
  • and whose property has access to available water, according to the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs). Information on water availability under the SDLs is available on the maps and tables in the information pack.

Download a Mitchell winterfill information pack
Download a fillable application form
Check availability of Mitchell River system winterfill water in your area: Mitchell available water map

 

FAQs on the process for applying for winterfill water
How has 6GL of unallocated winterfill water in the Mitchell River system been identified?

A detailed assessment of water resources in the Mitchell River system was undertaken which identified 6GL of unallocated winterfill water in the Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy in 2011. As the name suggests, winterfill water is only available to be extracted during the peak flow winter period. The assessment found that this amount of water can be sustainably used while maintaining environment, recreational and cultural values in the Mitchell River catchment.

What will happen with the other 4GL of unallocated winterfill water?

The remaining 4GL of winterfill water will be made available to the open market for those who are eligible to be issued with section 51 licences on the Mitchell River system, including local farmers.

There will be an initial 2GL made available through water market processes before the end of this year 2020, which will be followed by an additional 2GL later next year.

This is the first time in the Mitchell that significant winterfill water allocation has been made available through a market process.

Southern Rural Water is now calling for applications of expressions of interest from those who are eligible to participate by 5pm 21 December, and will run a market-based approach for that tranche in the next couple of months.  Only those who are eligible at the time will be able to participate in that sales process.

Who is eligible to participate in the process?
  • Landowners on the Mitchell or its tributaries who are eligible to be issued with a s51 licence at this time on the Mitchell Basin.
  • and whose property has access to available water, according to the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs). Information on water availability under the SDL’s is available on the maps and tables in the information pack. Please contact SRW if you have specific questions about availability of winterfill water on your property.

When can winterfill water be harvested on licence in the Mitchell?

Winterfill water can only be harvested when flows are above 1,400 ML/day at the Glenaladale gauging station, between 1 July and 31 October each year.

 

How do I store the water so I can use it in summer?

You may need to construct an off-stream dam if you are successful in gaining a winterfill licence. These may require licensing depending on size and/or location. You may also need other permits e.g. a permit from East Gippsland Shire Council.

 

Can I store the water in my registration dam?

You cannot put winterfill licensed water in registration dams, registration licences would need to be converted to standard licences first and would then attract ongoing fees.

 

I already have a dam, how do I know if I have enough room to store extra water?

You may need to engage the services of a contractor to check your existing dam capacity.

 

When will I know if the water will be for sale?

After the closing date for applications, we will go through the process of assessing the eligibility of the applicants, and will determine whether the offer is oversubscribed or not. We will then make a decision on the method of allocation of the water – by tender or auction

 

What are the application fees?

Unlike a normal application process, we are not seeking fees at present. Depending on demand, we may need to go to tender or auction. You will be advised what fees are required after the closing date and the completion of the assessment of applications for eligibility.

 

When will a sale commence if that is the course of action chosen?

Organising a sale may take some time, possibly 30 days or more following the decision. This could be delayed further due to the Christmas period.

 

How will be water be sold?

The sale will run as a tender or auction, depending on the level of response. Whichever method is chosen, the successful applicants will receive a standard take and use licence with winterfill licensing conditions.

 

What is a Section 51 licence?

A take and use (section 51) licence is an entitlement to take and use water from a waterway, catchment dam, spring, soak or aquifer for a fixed term. As the Minister’s delegate, Southern Rural Water can issue these licences for 15-year terms and can set conditions on the licence.

Are there any more winter-fill entitlements expected to be made available in the Mitchell River system?

DELWP is currently undertaking a study into the Mitchell River system to determine whether further water may be made available. The study is due to be completed in late 2020.

 

 For further information, please call SRW on 1300 139 510 or email your questions with the subject “Mitchell River winterfill” to srw@srw.com.au

 

Water for Traditional Owners

 12 November 2020

Traditional Owner water – 2 GL

The Victorian Government is making two gigalitres of water available from the Mitchell River to Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC).This is a significant milestone for Traditional Owners, as the first time that water has been made available to Traditional Owners in this way. The Victorian government remains committed to advancing self-determination for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians. Southern Rural Water (SRW) is committed to fostering mutually respectful working relationships with Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal communities, and in working together to help them achieve their objective of access to water for cultural and economic uses. 

Will GLaWAC receive this water every year?

This is an annual winterfill entitlement of 2GL which GLaWAC will receive each year of their licence term.

Can the Traditional Owners use it for irrigation?

The water will be released through a section 51 licence, which means they can use it for any purpose as per the conditions in the Take and Use Licence, which may include irrigation. GLaWAC will be able to use the water in any way that is consistent with the conditions on their licence set by Southern Rural Water.

Will the allocation give GLaWAC a role in looking after the water in its environment?

GLaWAC will receive water for their use under the Water Act 1989, through a licence issued by Southern Rural Water. This licence enables GLaWAC to self-determine how it will use the water, whether that is for economic development or looking after the water in its environment, depending on their aspirations and choices

 

 

Southern Rural Water acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters on which we work and live, and we respect their deep and ongoing connection to Country. For more about the First Nations peoples on whose Country we work, click here.