In­vest­ment fund in­vests in wa­ter­ing

The Riverine Herald - - REFLECTIONS FROM THE PAST -

FOR the first time in Vic­to­ria a pri­vately owned wet­land has been flooded us­ing wa­ter do­nated by an in­vest­ment fund.

The pur­pose­ful flooding is part of a scheme sup­ported by the Mur­rayDar­ling Basin bal­anced wa­ter fund, a body which seeks to tackle wa­ter scarcity in the basin.

The fund is a part­ner­ship be­tween The Na­ture Con­ser­vancy, Mur­rayDar­ling Wet­lands Work­ing Group and Kil­ter Ru­ral.

Jamie Fitzsi­mons from The Na­ture Con­ser­vancy ex­plained the fund buys and sells wa­ter, set­ting some aside for en­vi­ron­men­tal pur­poses.

“The fund works with ir­ri­ga­tors to pur­chase and lease wa­ter rights with the dual ob­jec­tives of pro­vid­ing se­cure wa­ter to agri­cul­ture and restor­ing im­por­tant wet­lands,” Mr Fitzsi­mons said.

“When wa­ter is scarce and agri­cul­tural de­mand is higher, the fund makes more wa­ter avail­able to farm­ers but when wa­ter is plen­ti­ful and de­mand is lower, more is al­lo­cated to pri­vate wet­lands,” he said.

Up to 185 me­gal­itres of wa­ter was used to re­plen­ish a thirsty la­goon at Yam­buna, north­east of Echuca.

The Goul­burn Bro­ken CMA’s en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter and wet­lands man­ager Si­mon Casanelia said the wet­land was home to a num­ber of threat­ened species.

“This wet­land sup­ports a whole va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent wet­land birds and plants. When the wa­ter has fin­ished be­ing de­liv­ered it’s go­ing to be spec­tac­u­lar,” Mr Casanelia said.

He said the GBCMA helped fa­cil­i­tate a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the landowner and the fund.

“We’re all seek­ing the same out­come. That is to see im­prove­ments in the health of the wet­land and this is an­other av­enue avail­able to us to achieve that,” he said.

Yam­buna La­goon owner Jamie McMaster said he was de­lighted to see the la­goon com­ing back to life as it flooded.

“We’ve seen some amaz­ing sights. A tur­tle nest and baby tur­tles, rare birds and na­tive plants,” Mr McMaster said.

The landowner said he wel­comed the in­un­da­tion of wa­ter to his bil­l­abong be­cause it would have flow-on pub­lic ben­e­fits.

“This wet­land feeds the bil­l­abongs in the na­tional park so when this floods, the wa­ter will flow into those la­goons and the whole of Aus­tralia can ben­e­fit from that park and the re­source it presents.”

So far the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin bal­anced wa­ter fund has raised $34m in cap­i­tal in­vest­ment and pledges.

THIS WAY: Pre­par­ing Yam­buna La­goon to get an en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter flow — the first time in Vic­to­ria a pri­vately owned wet­land has been flooded us­ing wa­ter do­nated by an in­vest­ment fund.

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