Water trading gets OK

EFFICIENT municipalities, community groups and commercial customers will be able to ease the impact of drought this summer through a water trading scheme.For the second year running Coliban Water will run a water trading pilot scheme.Coliban Water’s managing director Gavin Hanlon said eligible municipalities, community groups and commercial customers would be able to buy temporary water on the market and have it delivered through the corporation’s system.Last year the water trading pilot scheme delivered 291.5 megalitres of water to 37 customers in the Coliban Water region.“It benefited local sporting clubs, municipalities, schools, agriculture enterprises and car wash businesses,” said Mr Hanlon.Municipalities and community groups must show the trading is for public benefit, while commercial customers must demonstrate their business is impacted by water restrictions.Mr Hanlon said the availability of Coliban Water infrastructure to deliver the water directly to where it was being used was another hurdle, with the needs of other water users not to be compromised.“We conduct the program on a full cost recovery basis, so the participating customer pays for everything, including the cost of the water purchased and all other associated costs including treatment and pumping,” Mr Hanlon said.Mr Hanlon said this year’s water trading pilot scheme would also be extended to include existing rural licence holders on the Eppalock pipeline.“This will allow 79 customers presently on a zero rural season allocation the opportunity to access some water.”Mr Hanlon said the corporation had been working with the Eppalock Pipeline Community Working Group to allow temporary trading of water from the Goulburn system for the season.