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Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder may sell more water allocations in New South Wales this year

Media release

Thursday 6 March 2014

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder David Papps today announced his intentions regarding the trade of environmental water in three New South Wales catchments over the remainder of 2013-14.

No decisions have been made but the sale of Commonwealth environmental water allocations is being considered in the Peel River in the Namoi and in the Gwydir and Lachlan catchments, subject to prevailing environmental conditions.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office will provide further information to the water market once the Water Holder has made decisions and prior to undertaking any trading action, in keeping with the Commonwealth environmental water trading framework and protocols.

Decisions on the sale of water allocations are only made after ensuring environmental needs are met, as required under the Water Act 2007, and following consideration of the optimum level of carryover required (where available) to meet future environmental needs.

Sale of allocations in the Peel, Gwydir and Lachlan will allow the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to realise value that could be used in the future to purchase water.

Mr Papps said the next sale of a small volume of water allocations is most likely to be in the Peel River.

“At this stage, the sale of this year’s seasonal allocations in the Peel is the priority because the water is not required for the remainder of the year. Additionally, there is no carryover available with these entitlements,” he said.

“Any sale of water allocations in the Gwydir and the Lachlan may occur later in the water year to coincide with planning for the next irrigation season and is subject to further analysis of environmental needs, seasonal conditions and allocations in 2014-15 and beyond.”

These plans follow the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s successful first trade in the Gwydir catchment, which resulted in the sale of 10 gigalitres of allocations and a return of $3.217 million for the Murray Darling environment. The decision to trade a small portion of annual allocations in the Gwydir was consistent with the commitment to take a conservative approach, thereby minimising potential impacts on the market.


The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) has legislated responsibility under the Water Act 2007 (Water Act) for decisions relating to Commonwealth environmental water, including the management of the portfolio so that it maximises environmental outcomes across the Murray-Darling Basin over time. Information about how the water portfolio is managed is available at About us