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RURAL & AGRIBUSINESS

Barwon-Darling water entitlements on the market

water in agriculture
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SEVERAL farming families, principally cotton growers, have put forward a portfolio of Barwon-Darling water entitlements.

Danny Thomas, Richie Inglis and Col Medway of CBRE are marketing just under 35% of available B Class and smaller shares of A and C Class water entitlements (both <1%) within the Barwon-Darling Unregulated River Water Source Zone.

According to the agents, they have been put forward on the basis that the water entitlements might be returned to the Barwon-Darling river system.

Thomas noted the vendors had been monitoring public sentiment and the growing commentary around the alleged causes of the degradation of the Barwon-Darling river system and were offering their water entitlements voluntarily.

“In doing so, the vendors have provided an opportunity for government, conservation groups or others to acquire the entitlements on commercial terms,” he said. “This is the opportunity for vocal critics to redirect those water entitlements away from agriculture and, in effect, take real action to return water to the Barwon-Darling river system.”

The entitlements total more than 30,000 megalitres. Two years ago, the federal government controversially paid $78 million to Webster Limited for the 21,901 megalitres of water entitlements at its cotton-growing property at Tandou.

More than $8.5 billion has been put forward by the federal government to improving the health of the Murray-Darling Basin since 2010. Water levels and quality across the river system have suffered from climatic conditions, pollution and usage.