A comprehensive customer information program is underway to assist irrigators better understand the unbundling of water entitlements, due to occur later this year.
Goulburn-Murray Water has mailed information to all affected customers and will be providing many opportunities for irrigators to find out more about the changes and the benefits of unbundling from now until it comes into effect on 1 July 2007.
Unbundling separates an existing water entitlement into: water shares (high and low reliability), a delivery share (for regulated diversion licences this is called an extraction share), and a water-use licence.
Chief Executive Russell Cooper said the unbundling of water entitlements is an important change that provides greater flexibility for irrigators to develop their business in new and innovative ways.
"From 1 July, water rights and diversion licences on regulated water systems in northern Victoria will be ‘unbundled', a concept introduced by the Victorian Government's water reform program," Mr Cooper said.
"Unbundling recognises that an irrigator's current water entitlement is actually a bundle of different types of entitlements and services that can be better managed when separated into individual components.
"By separating water from land, unbundling provides new flexibility to plan water use, trade water shares, tailor delivery services and manage risk.
"For instance, buying and selling water will also be a lot easier, and irrigators could choose to lease water rather than own it."
Unbundling opens up new opportunities for all irrigators and some may wish to take advantage of these immediately. However, unbundling will not force irrigators to make changes, and they can continue to operate as they do now, if they prefer.
Last week Goulburn-Murray Water mailed more than 15,000 information packs to customers to help explain the new options available, and will follow up with 35 customer information sessions during March.
The Water Wheels information caravan will also tour the region over several months so that customers can talk directly to staff about the changes. Dates and locations will be advertised in local newspapers.
"We are very keen to help all customers aware of the changes and encourage them to attend the meetings or visit Water Wheels in their area to find out more," Mr Cooper said.
Any customer on a regulated system who hasn't received an information pack in the mail should contact Goulburn-Murray Water to have the information mailed out. Further information is available here, from local Goulburn-Murray Water offices or by calling 1800 013 357.