Chinese delegation cewh

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Chinese delegation cewh

  1. 1. Commonwealth environmental water managementBen Docker, Director, Environmental Water Policy
  2. 2. Commonwealth Environmental Water HolderEstablished by the Water Act 2007 to manage the Commonwealth holdings:  With independence to ensure that the holdings are managed for the best possible environmental outcomes from the available water  To perform its functions for the purpose of protecting or restoring environmental assets (including rivers, streams and wetlands)   so as to give effect to relevant international agreements   taking a Basin-wide approach  To act in accordance with the MDBA environmental watering plan when in place. A guide to the proposed Basin Plan was released last October  276 gigalitres of water has already been made available for environmental use www.environment.gov.au
  3. 3. Water for the FutureA 10-year plan to secure the long-term water supply of all Australians, consisting of:  Policy and administrative reforms with four high level objectives:  Climate adaptation  Using water wisely   Including sustainable rural water use and infrastructure program  Securing water supplies  Healthy rivers and waterways   Including restoring the balance in the Murray-Darling Basin; and   Managing water entitlements to protect and restore environmental assets www.environment.gov.au
  4. 4. Acquiring water entitlements  Restoring the Balance in the Basin ($3.1 billion)  Water purchased through tenders with entitlements to be managed by the CEWH  Aims to restore the balance between consumptive use and the environment  Assists transition to a new cap  Sustainable Rural Water and Infrastructure ($5.8 billion)  Infrastructure investments assisting the rural sector to adapt to an environment of less water, via improving the efficiency and productivity of water use  Where water is saved a share of the water will be acquired by the Commonwealth and managed by the CEWH www.environment.gov.au
  5. 5. Commonwealth environmental water holdings  As at 31 January 2011, the total amount of entitlements registered in the holdings was 861 GL www.environment.gov.au
  6. 6. Context of environmental water use  Holding tradeable water entitlements rather than a manager of an environmental reserve or of operating rules (i.e. as a market participant)  Different situations across the Basin require different solutions   Including water shepherding arrangements within and through unregulated parts of the Basin  Decisions about priorities need to be made against a clearly articulated and transparent framework  Use of water is not just about specific “sites” but the connectivity between sites and use of the water for improving river health  Monitoring of outcomes needs to be focussed and clearly demonstrate achievements www.environment.gov.au
  7. 7. Active Management - EfficiencyActive management provides opportunities for efficiency:  Using infrastructure (e.g. regulators) and pumps to direct water to particular sites  Calling water at a time that achieves the highest outcome:   supplementing planned environmental water and other flows;   achieving more natural seasonal flows (e.g. winter rather than summer flows);   carrying over water to subsequent years to prepare for drier periods.  Transferring between catchments of the southern connected system (depending on conditions)  In the future, trading allocations / entitlements with purchase of other allocations / entitlements (either later or in another catchment) www.environment.gov.au
  8. 8. Multi-Site Use Efficiency4. Lower Lakes, 2. Edward-Wakool and •  Improves waterCoorong and Werai Forest use efficiency 3. Murray RiverMurray Mouth Channel (separate site watering would require more water). 1. Barmah •  Accounting Millewa Forest issues to be resolved. Requires significant coordination across catchments. www.environment.gov.au
  9. 9. www.environment.gov.au
  10. 10. Commonwealth environmental water holdings  In the past the planned environmental water was amongst the least secure water in times of drought  Held environmental water (like Commonwealth Environmental Water) is treated the same as equivalent water entitlements:  the same allocations / carry over rules etc. (i.e. equal security as equivalent entitlements)  pays the same fees and charges, and  is being actively managed to achieve the maximum possible outcome www.environment.gov.au
  11. 11. Commonwealth environmental water holdings  Most previous watering done by allocated reserves with specific environmental characteristics  As a market participant, there is increased flexibility to respond to changing circumstances   Active management of water that will complement a flow rules approach   Enabling targeted watering of key assets   Acquiring water where it is needed, disposing where/when not needed  But poses numerous challenges:   E-water shepherding and flows in unregulated catchments   Navigating different jurisdictional rules and entitlement characteristics   Restrictions on location of use www.environment.gov.au
  12. 12. Decisions on environmental water use  Objectives based on water resource availability  We consider the volume of water available in the year, input provided from state government agencies, independent experts and others such as local site managers and Catchment Management Authorities  Advice is received from our Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Committee  An assessment of watering options is made against five criteria www.environment.gov.au
  13. 13. Management scenarios Extreme Dry Dry Median Wet Watering Avoid damage Ensure capacity Maintain health Improve & extend objectives to key assets for recovery & resilience ecosystems Prolong flooding Increase flood Water refugia & Water refugia &Management provide emergency provide low flows; events; provide duration & extent; actions in-channel flows & high flows & water at key sites limited recruitment limited connectivity connectivity www.environment.gov.au
  14. 14. Assessment criteria1.  The ecological significance of the asset2.  The expected ecological outcomes from the proposed action3.  The potential risks of the proposed watering action at the site and at connected locations4.  The long-term sustainability of the asset including appropriate management arrangements5.  The cost effectiveness and operational feasibility of undertaking the watering action www.environment.gov.au
  15. 15. Local – Basin - Local  Local priorities   determined by CMAs, Environmental Water Advisory Groups, Landholders, Community Groups, Local Trusts through established processes  Basin-wide prioritisation   CEWH with advice from department and EWSAC and consultation with MDBA  Local delivery, monitoring and reporting back   CMAs, research institutions, parks authorities, community groups www.environment.gov.au
  16. 16. Use of Commonwealth environmental water  Since the commencement of ‘Water   First water use - March 2009 for the Future’ 297 gigalitres of   Paiwalla Wetland - 475 ML environmental water has been made   Chowilla Floodplain - 286 ML available to rivers, wetlands and   Katarapko Floodplain - 200 ML floodplains of the Murray-Darling   Rocky Gully - 80 ML Basin   Largest water use - May 2010  2009-10: 154 gigalitres returned to   Lowbidgee Floodplain - 40 GL the environment   Supplementary water use  So far in 2010-11: 119 gigalitres has   Macquarie Marshes – 845.6 ML been committed   Lowbidgee Floodplain – 1600 ML www.environment.gov.au
  17. 17. Monitoring the outcomes of environmental water use  Currently working through states, CMAs and other local groups  Developing a longer-term framework in line with the monitoring and evaluation program for the Basin Plan  Monitoring has already detected encouraging changes such as improvement in the condition of trees, decreasing salinity and benefits to rare and endangered species  A complete picture of the effects of returning water to the environment will take time www.environment.gov.au
  18. 18. Questions www.environment.gov.au

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