GWMWATER believes the sale of Wimmera irrigation water to the Federal Government is a once in a lifetime opportunity for irrigators and the region.
The government has offered to buy 28,000 megalitres of irrigation water at $900 a megalitre and will also pay for the decommissioning of all irrigation channels in the Wimmera Irrigation Area.
Wimmera Irrigators Association submitted an irrigator-led group proposal to sell the water to the government’s Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities last year.
GWMWater and the association began distributing letters to all 218 irrigation water customers on Monday last week to seek support for the offer.
The authority’s Andrew Rose said 196 letters had been collected from Australia Post by yesterday afternoon.
He said the authority had received responses from 160 irrigators, all in support of the sale.
The Federal Government has asked for 100 per cent support from irrigators.
Mr Rose said the offer was a wonderful opportunity.
“We support the application made by the Wimmera Irrigators Association and we think it is a win-win situation,” he said.
“It provides an opportunity for a huge injection of funds into the Wimmera community.”
Mr Rose said the Federal Government had identified the water as a requirement under the Murray-Darling Basin draft plan to return the Wimmera River to health for the benefit of Lake Hindmarsh and Lake Albacutya, a Ramsar-listed site of ecological significance.
“Without this sale the Federal Government would have to acquire the water some other way as long as there was a target for the Wimmera-Avoca system in the Murray-Darling Basin,” he said.
Horsham Golf Club manager Anthony Crute said the sale, should it go ahead, would be a great outcome for the club.
He said the club’s water entitlement was equivalent to about $135,000.
He said after the clubhouse was razed in the Black Saturday bushfires, the money from the sale would be a welcome injection.
“We are fully supportive of the sale,” he said.
”The club is running at a loss so this is basically an opportunity to break even.
“We are looking at a couple of projects where we could invest the money, such as a sprinkler or watering system.
“To get those designs is very expensive, about $10,000 to $15,000.”
Mr Crute said the money the sale would generate was a major plus for the region.
“I don’t know the likelihood of it going through but the irrigators seem fairly confident,” he said.
“Once it’s in the bag we will be excited.
“We are looking at payment potentially in September or October.”
GWMWater has asked irrigators to provide their responses by Monday.
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