The irrigators’ share is the component of water recovered through the Connections Project that the Victorian Government committed to provide to irrigators in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID). In line with recommendations of the Irrigators’ Share Consultative Committee, the irrigators’ share has been distributed directly to GMID delivery share holders, proportionate their holdings of delivery share.
Who has received a benefit?
At 12:01 am on 1 October 2021, information on delivery share ownership was taken from the Victorian Water Register. Anyone who held delivery share in any of the six areas of the GMID on this date and is charged the common infrastructure access fee will have received a share of the Connections Project’s water recovery either as water shares or as a GMW bill credit, proportionate to their holdings of delivery share on census date.
Between October 2021 and August 2022, 77 gigalitres of Connections Project water was successfully distributed to eligible recipients of the irrigators share. This was distributed as either water shares (for those who held 0.25 ML per day or more of delivery share at census date) or financial benefits (for those who held less than 0.25 ML per day of delivery share).
If you are a GMID delivery share holder and have questions about your individual share of the benefits, you can contact our dedicated irrigators’ share distribution support service at ISDProject@gmwater.com.au or call 1800 013 357.
For delivery share holders with 0.25ML/day or more
Water shares and seasonal allocations started being issued on 16 October and continued until the end of October 2021. Water shares were distributed to nearly 7000 delivery share holders in the GMID with 0.25 ML/day or more of delivery share. This marks a significant milestone for the Irrigators’ Share Distribution and the Connections Project.
At census date (1 October 2021) it was confirmed that eligible delivery share holders will receive:
Volume to be issued per 1 ML / day of delivery share
| Water share
|High reliability water share
|Low reliability water share
Information on why the water share volumes distributed in the Murray and the Goulburn systems are different can be found in this fact sheet - How the irrigators' share of water recovered through modernisation in the GMID is being calculated, audited and distributed , opens in a new window.
For delivery share holders with less than 0.25ML/day
GMW irrigators eligible for the distribution but who held less than 0.25 ML/day of delivery share at census date, have received their benefit as a credit on their fixed charges bill from GMW in July 2022.
In October 2021 GMW was issued water shares in proportion to the pooled delivery share of all recipients below the threshold level of 0.25 ML/day. This totaled about 1200 ML of high reliability water shares and 690 ML of low reliability water shares. Between November 2021 and June 2022, these water shares and associated allocation were sold on the market to generate the financial benefit.
More information on the trading strategy that was independently developed to guide the sale of these water shares and allocation is available in this document - Water Trading Strategy Public Summary 2021 - Irrigators' Share Distribution
Distribution of additional Connections Project water recovery to irrigators
All eligible recipients of the irrigators’ share will receive a bill credit on their 2023/24 GMW fixed charge account, as the final element of the distribution. This bill credit will be proportionate to holdings of delivery share on census date (1 October 2021) and comprise funds arising from:
- sale of water allocation held by the Connections Project against the irrigators share (known as the offset accounts) (approx. $800k)
- sale of water shares associated with the 681 megalitres of additional Connections Project water recovery committed to irrigators in February 2022, at final audit. (approx. $3.1m)
This means a total of approximately $3.9m, alongside any interest accrued, will be distributed to all eligible recipients of the irrigators share.
The water sales were completed in line with an independently developed trading strategy, which aimed to maximise returns for beneficiaries, while minimising market disruption, and ensuring open accessibility to the trade opportunity for all interested parties.
More information on the trading strategy that was independently developed to guide the sale of these water shares and allocation is available in this document - Water Trading Strategy Stage 2 Public Summary - Irrigator's Share Distribution
Project close out
GMW and the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) are now preparing to close out the ISD project.
A very small portion of the original 77GL irrigators share remains unissued – from a total of over 13,000 eligible GMID delivery-share holders, as at April 2023 approximately 50 individuals are yet to receive a benefit.
Since November 2020, GMW has been working with customers to ensure account details are in order and required paperwork has been completed to enable issuing of ISD benefits. These customers will now have a further 12 months to take the required action/s to claim their benefit. Any remaining ISD benefits unclaimed by 30 June 2024 will be relinquished – unclaimed water shares will be surrendered to the consumptive pool, benefitting all Goulburn-Murray entitlement holders, and unclaimed financial benefits will be transferred to the State Revenue Office.
Eligible recipients of the irrigators share have a deadline of 1 May 2024 to complete the necessary paperwork to claim their benefits.
The 1 May 2024 deadline has been set to give remaining customers reasonable time to act, balanced with the need to close out the process.
Frequently asked questions
Additional Connections Water Recovery
Q. Where has this additional water come from and why is it being distributed as a financial benefit?
A: On 25 February 2022 the Minister for Water announced that of an additional 2GL of water recovered by the Connections Project above target and confirmed by the final audit, one third – or 681.6 ML LTAAY– would be distributed to GMID irrigators as a financial benefit.
Q. Who receives the other two-thirds of this additional water?
A. The remaining two-thirds of the additional 2GL, nominally shared between the other original partners in the project – the environment – represented by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) – and Melbourne retail water corporations, has been set aside for Traditional Owners in northern Victoria. The Melbourne retailers and the VEWH have given their support for the additional water recovery to be set aside to support Traditional Owner values.
Q. Who will receive a financial benefit from the additional water committed to irrigators?
A: All eligible recipients of the irrigators’ share will receive a financial benefit arising from sale of the additional Connections Project water recovery committed to irrigators. Eligible recipients of the irrigators share are those who held delivery share in any of the six areas of the GMID and charged the common infrastructure access fee at census date (12:01 am on 1 October 2021). This information on eligibility was taken from the Victorian Water Register at census date.
All eligible recipients will also receive a financial benefit arising from the 2021/22 sale of water allocation held by the Connections Project against the irrigators’ share (known as the offset accounts).
Q. Why are irrigators getting a share of the extra 2 GL when they already received additional water?
A. Of the three groups of original Connections Project investors and beneficiaries, the irrigators were the only group to not receive any progressive water allocations during completion of the Project. The Victorian Government decision in April 2021 to commit a further 2GL of additional water recovery to irrigators above their original 75GL share acknowledged this and recognises that irrigators will have to pay the majority of the ongoing costs of maintaining the upgraded system through their infrastructure access fees to a standard necessary to ensure the water recovery is enduring.
Q. What happens if my account details are not updated and the required paperwork has been completed by 30 June 2024?
A. Any remaining ISD benefits unclaimed by 30 June 2024 will be relinquished – unclaimed water shares will be surrendered to the consumptive pool, benefitting all Goulburn-Murray entitlement holders, and unclaimed financial benefits will be transferred to the State Revenue Office.
Q. What do I need to do to get my ISD benefit?
A. GMW will be writing to all eligible delivery share holders who have not yet received their ISD benefit detailing what is required to be completed to be able to issue them with their benefit. You can contact the Irrigators’ Share Distribution project team at GMW to discuss this in more detail.