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 1.4 Managing available water for the environment
Figure 1.4.1 shows the proportion of water entitlements held in Victoria by private users (such as irrigators and other businesses), water corporations (for household supply) and environmental water holders: the VEWH and the CEWH.
The proportions are based on the total volume of surface water entitlements recorded in the Victorian Water Register at 30 June 2019. The VEWH has incorporated its storage share volumes for some entitlements (such as for the Barwon and Latrobe systems) that are not represented volumetrically in the register. The proportions do not include water entitlements that are not accounted for in the register (such as passing flows and other rules-based environmental water like the Barmah-Millewa Environmental Water Account or River Murray Increased Flows).
Figure 1.4.1 Proportions of Victorian water entitlements, at 30 June 2018
Private 48% Environment 23% Water corporations 29%
Where possible, the proportion of water entitlements held by each user group is shown in each system section. For some systems, the way water entitlements have been accounted for in the Victorian Water Register or the connected nature of some water supply systems across multiple river basins means that it is not possible to represent water entitlements proportionally for some systems.
The water available to use under these entitlements varies from year to year, depending on entitlement rules, seasonal conditions including rainfall and run-off in the catchments, and the water already available in storages.
Water donations
The VEWH may receive water donations from individuals, community groups and other organisations. This water could be used for environmental watering in the water year in which it was donated including for actions identified in the seasonal watering plan, or it could be carried over for use in the future: see subsection 1.4.2 for more information about carryover. Some donors may identify a specific use for the water they donate (such as environmental watering in a specified wetland or to protect a certain tree species). In these instances, the VEWH would consider the costs and benefits of each donor proposal before agreeing to accept the donation.
Water available from other environmental water holders
In northern and western Victoria, the VEWH coordinates with other environmental water holders to deliver environmental outcomes at the broader Murray-Darling Basin scale. One of the VEWH’s important roles is to coordinate with Murray-Darling Basin environmental water holders — the CEWH and program partners in New South Wales and South Australia — to optimise the benefits
of all water for the environment in Victorian waterways. The seasonal watering plan considers the use of all water for the environment held in Victorian river systems.
Usually, when Commonwealth water is to be delivered in Victoria, the CEWH transfers the agreed amount of water to the VEWH. That amount then becomes part of the Victorian environmental Water Holdings until used or transferred back.
Table 1.4.2 shows the environmental water entitlements held by the CEWH in Victoria. The CEWH also holds water in New South Wales and South Australia, and both New South Wales and South Australia also hold water, which could potentially be made available for environmental watering in Victoria.
Table 1.4.2 Environmental water entitlement held in Victoria by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, as at 6 May 2020
    Volume (ML)
   Class of entitlement
 High-reliability water share
  Low-reliability water share
  High-reliability water share
  Low-reliability water share
  High-reliability water share
  Low-reliability water share
   High-reliability water share
 Low-reliability water share
   High-reliability water share
 Low-reliability water share
   High-reliability water share
  Wimmera- Mallee
  Low-reliability water share
       30 | Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21

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