Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
Update prepared: 14 March 2013
Gwydir 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 Gwydir 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
While the Gwydir catchment commenced 2012-13 with very high levels of water availability, hot and dry conditions have prevailed recently. Copeton Dam has been drawn down through spring and particularly summer and is now at approximately 75% of capacity. The last allocation announcement for general security entitlements was made in November, taking the cumulative total for 2012-13 to 157%. Rainfall associated with Cyclone Oswald provided supplementary access in late January 2013.
|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||19.1||0.0||Up to 19.1, subject to announcement||1.5||Up to 17.6, subject to announcement|
|Total||109.0||134.3||0.4 - 19.5||17.4||118.8 - 135.4|
- Slight discrepancies may exist due to rounding.
Note: In accordance with the NSW Water Sharing Plan for the Gwydir Regulated River Water Source (2004):
- High Security maximum allocation balance is 100%, no carryover, annual allocation use is limited to 100%.
- General Security maximum allocation balance is 150%, maximum carryover of 150%, annual allocation use is limited to 125% in any one year or 300% over 3 years.
- Limits are expressed as a percentage of the entitlement held.
Commonwealth environmental water availablity and use in 2012-13 (up to 28 February 2013)
Including the opening allocation to high security entitlements, CEWO commenced the year with 135 GL of regulated allocation within its accounts. While allocations of 157% have subsequently been made to general security entitlements, no additional Commonwealth environmental water was received due to the allocation account already being at maximum capacity. The volume of water available to CEWO, and to most entitlement holders in the Gwydir, is significantly higher than the long-term average.
Commonwealth environmental water deliveries commenced in late December to Mallowa and Gwydir wetlands, with the objective to support the recovery of wetland vegetation and maintain habitat for threatened and migratory listed species. By the end of February, around 4 GL of regulated allocation had been delivered to Mallowa Wetlands in conjunction with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. The Gwydir Wetlands had received around 12 GL of regulated and 1.5 GL of supplementary water.
Anticipated water availability and use in remainder of 2012-13 (post 28 February 2013)
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.
Until mid-March 2013 Commonwealth environmental water will continue to be appliedto both Gwydir and Mallowa wetlands. Continuing environmental watering actions are expected to use up to 6.5 GL of regulated allocation in the Gwydir wetlands and up to 1 GL of regulated allocation in the Mallowa wetlands. Subject to being made available, and factors including the characteristics of the event, it is possible for additional supplementary allocation to be provided to the Gwydir wetlands.
Further information on environmental water use is available at Gwydir 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 in the Gwydir. Trade of allocation by other water market participants was relatively light during the first few months of the water year. Volume and prices increased during summer but have diminished in response to recent rain events.
A small volume of regulated allocation could be sold in the Gwydir in response to high water availabilty relative to environmental demand, and favourable market conditions; however 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.
CEWO is not considering the purchase of allocations or trade of entitlements in the Gwydir in 2012-13. All intentions are largely 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 forecast that around 110 GL of Commonwealth environmental water will be carried over into 2013-14. This assumes that anticipated environmental water deliveries are fully implemented with regulated allocation.
Carryover can be used to implement environmental water options from early 2013-14. Further information about carryover of Commonwealth environmental water can be found at Information on carryover.
Proportion of Gwydir irrigation entitlements held by Commonwealth (by total long-term average annual yield)
Regulated Commonwealth environmental water allocations as a proportion of Gwydir major storage capacity