Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
Update prepared: 14 March 2013
Macquarie River catchment
Photo by Simon Banks © CEWO
This portfolio management statement outlines the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office's (CEWO) current approach to the use, carryover and trade of Commonwealth environmental water in the Macquarie catchment for the remainder of the 2012-13 water year.
This statement will continue to be updated as the approach to portfolio management is adjusted in response to actual seasonal conditions. The next routine update is anticipated around June/July 2013, however, further updates may be released in response to a significant change in circumstances.
Recent Water Availability: The Macquarie catchment commenced 2012-13 with a very high level of water availability following a large flood event. State Water reset general and high security accounts to 100% of entitlement in May 2012. Opening allocations for the 2012-13 water year of 100% and 28% were made to high and general security entitlements respectively.
A further 34% 1 of allocations have subsequently been announced for general security entitlements. Conditions since the end of winter have been extremely dry and public storages have been drawn down significantly, with Burrendong Dam at approximately 40% of capacity and Windamere Dam at approximately 55% of capacity.
|Entitlement type||Entitlement Held (GL)||Carryover from 2011-12(GL)||New Allocations in 2012-13 (GL)||Estimated water that has been delivered in 2012-13 (GL)||Current Commonwealth allocations (GL)|
|Supplementary||1.9||0.0||Up to 1.9, subject to announcement||0.0||Up to 1.9, subject to announcement|
|Total||99.9||60.4||56.8 - 58.7||100.0||17.3 - 19.2|
- A 4% announcement included in this figure was made in early March and hence not included in any end-Feb figures
- Slight discrepancies may exist due to rounding
- This figure takes into account the reduction to CEWOs carryover balance due to the operation of the Water Sharing Plan's flood mitigation zone rules.
In accordance with the NSW Water Sharing Plan for the Macquarie Regulated River Water Source (2004):
- Macquarie and Cudgegong (General Security); allocation account holding limit of 200% of entitlement applies to carryover plus allocations, maximum carryover of 100% of entitlement, no annual use limit.
- Limits are expressed as a percentage of the entitlement held.
Commonwealth environmental water availablity and use in 2012-13 (up to 28 February 2013)
CEWO commenced the year with 121 GL of general security allocations within its account, comprised of 94 GL from carryover and 27 GL from the opening general security allocation announcement. The subsequent allocations to general security entitlement have not resulted in a net increase in available water as they have been offset by a reduction to the volume carried-over from 2011-12, as per the Water Sharing Plan's flood mitigation zone rules.
Supplementary access has been announced by the NSW Office of Water, however the targeted environmental outcomes were achieved without the need for CEWO to 'take' during these events.
From November through to January, 100 GL of Commonwealth environmental water was used in a joint watering action in the Macquarie Marshes with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH). The objectives of the watering action were to take advantage of the wet antecedent conditions to maintain the inundation of approximately 50,000 hectares of semi-permanent wetland vegetation, including river red gum communities, and to provide the habitat to support successful breeding of water birds. Early on ground observations by NSW OEH indicate that these objectives were achieved.
Anticipated water availability and use in remainder of 2012-13 (post 28 February 2013)
As the water level in Burrendong Dam is no longer within the Flood Mitigation Zone, future general security allocation announcements will not be offset by a reduction to the carryover sub-account and therefore any further allocation announcements would increase the volume of Commonwealth environmental water that is available. While the announcement of any additional allocations is subject to the NSW Office of Water's considerations regarding dam inflows and other factors, CEWO is not anticipating receiving any significant allocations for the remainder of 2012-13 beyond those made available in early March.
CEWO may take up to 1.9 GL of supplementary allocation subject to access being made available. There are a number of factors affecting whether CEWO would take supplementary allocation, including the size of a supplementary event, but any volume that is taken would likely be used for watering the Macquarie Marshes. Further Commonwealth environmental watering using general security allocation is not anticipated in 2012-13.
Further information on environmental water use options in the Macquarie is available at Macquarie-Castlereagh catchment.
Trade in 2012-13
The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 allows for the trade of Commonwealth environmental water (allocations and entitlements) and specifies the conditions under which any sales may occur. No Commonwealth environmental water has been traded this year within the Macquarie. Allocation trading by other water market participants increased throughout 2012-13 to extremely high levels, reflective of the declining level of water availability, though it diminished substantially in February.
CEWO is not intending to trade allocations or permanent entitlement in the Macquarie over the remainder of 2012-13. Further, CEWO does not intend to trade anywhere until it has addressed matters arising from the making of the Basin Plan and issues that were raised in recent consultation with industry groups. These include implementing protocols to address concerns about the potential for insider trading.
All intentions are unchanged from those expressed in the Statement released in December 2012 and further information would be made widely available should they change.
Carryover of Commonwealth environmental water into 2013-14
It is anticipated that at least 21 GL of Commonwealth environmental water will be carried over into 2013-14 as a result of the recent allocation announcement. Allocation carried over will be available for environmental watering in the Macquarie catchment in 2013-14, for which options and plans are currently being developed.
Carryover can be used to implement environmental water options from early 2013-14. Further information about carryover of Commonwealth environmental water can be found here: Information on carryover.
Proportion of Macquarie irrigation entitlements held by Commonwealth (by total long-term average annual yield)
Regulated Commonwealth environmental water allocations as a proportion of Macquarie's major storage capacity