Delivery share requires GMW to maintain channel capacity and deliver water to more than14,000 irrigation customers in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID).

This review set six outcomes to strengthen how delivery share works in the Goulburn Murray irrigation districts:

  1. Help irrigators adjust their delivery shares to give clearer signals for managing infrastructure to meet irrigation needs
  2. Set tariff and pricing principles that help adjust the infrastructure footprint
  3. Provide clear benefits in service and system operation for irrigators holding delivery shares
  4. Improve information, communication and transparency about delivery shares
  5. Ensure the clarity and transparency of GMW pricing
  6. Capture delivery shares up front in property transactions.

Putting the review into action

There were 19 actions to help achieve all six outcomes set for the GMID. Actions either completed or made part of GMW’s normal operations include:

  • Three outcomes that work together to examine relationships between delivery share, infrastructure management, asset investment, service level and water use.
  • One outcome that explored pricing and revenue structures linked with delivery share, connected with GMW’s 2020-2024 price review.
  • Two outcomes that supply current information and build customer understanding on how delivery share is being used in the GMID.

This section highlights major achievements and changes from actions in the review. A complete list of actions and their current status is in the Goulburn Murray Water irrigation districts summary table.

Progress on 19 actions:

  • 12 actions are fully completed and closed out
  • 5 actions are embedded into continuing business practices
  • 2 well-advanced actions are continuing with suitable project plans and resources.

GMW case study: making informed decisions about irrigation infrastructure

GMW‘s new decision-support tool has a transparent and repeatable process for evaluating and comparing options to maintain or decommission water delivery assets.

These options include offering termination fee discounts (action 1.4), limited term contracts (action 1.5) and other financial incentives.

Both actions had to pull apart the costs involved and compare them against any savings generated. It was critical to make sure that offering a termination discount or pricing a contract would not increase costs to other customers.

GMW engaged specialists to develop protocols and systems to generate and assess this information in a transparent and repeatable way. The resulting tool draws on information on asset use and condition from the channel-by-channel spatial tool that GMW developed during its business transformation, and which links with action 4.2 from the Delivery Share Review.

The decision-support tool can compare different asset management options for their potential infrastructure savings, impacts on system operations and costs to remaining customers.

It can be used in future to target how water recovery can produce infrastructure savings and improve system efficiency while reducing water losses.

Example of an end-of-system channel
Figure 1: GMW’s new evaluation tool helps to pull apart the costs and savings linked to decommissioning assets like this end-of-system channel and make decisions that support the GMID’s long-term future.

Help irrigators adjust delivery shares to better signal infrastructure requirements

Five recommended actions were designed to give irrigators more pathways to change their delivery share. These included progressing trade in delivery share and finding cost-effective ways of reducing infrastructure used to deliver water.

Actions 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 are now complete. There is active delivery share trade and tools are being used to transparently assess where termination fee discounts and limited term contracts can be applied to benefit customers.

GMW case study:  details how the decision-support tools work and are used to inform GMW’s asset management strategy.

Action 1.2 limiting the issue of new delivery share is being done through GMW’s policies and processes. These actively direct customers wanting delivery share to the market.

GMW will review and update its processes at the end of the 2020-2024 pricing period. This will build on learnings since the limit was introduced in late 2018, trends in water use and delivery share ownership and strategic asset management plans.

GMW will continue to steer customers to the market for delivery share when they want to increase how much delivery share they hold or add delivery share to a new outlet or property. This supports trade as an alternative to termination for customers who want to reduce their delivery share or exit irrigation and can financially benefit irrigators taking up delivery share through the market.

Set tariff and pricing principles that help adjust the infrastructure footprint

GMW has pulled apart its tariff and pricing structures with customer representatives. They explored options to manage infrastructure more efficiently and lower costs based on principles of fairness and transparency.

Changes to GMW’s tariffs and pricing structures were worked through in the 2020-2024 price review and are part of the framework for future reviews. This embeds actions 2.1 and 2.2 into continuing business practices.

Provide clear benefits to delivery shares in service and system operation

GMW continues to explore opportunities internally and with customers to expand how delivery share is used. This embeds action 3.1 into service delivery and operational reviews.

Specific benefits are now being provided to GMID delivery share holders though action 3.2. This action led to the formation of the Irrigators’ Share Consultative Committee, which recommended an approach to the Minister for Water to distribute the benefits of the irrigators’ share of water recovered through the Connections Project.

The committee was chaired by Paul Weller, with members appointed to represent the Torrumbarry, Rochester-Campaspe, Central Goulburn, Murray Valley, Loddon Valley and Shepparton Irrigation Areas, and the Victorian Farmers Federation.

The Minister accepted the committee’s recommendations in August 2020.

Improve information, communication and transparency on delivery shares

GMW gives its customers more clarity (action 4.1) by pulling apart what makes up fees and charges and transparently exploring costs and prices through the four-yearly price review process.

This involved working with Water Services Committees to break down the Infrastructure Access Fee during the 2020-2024 price review.

This fee makes up most of the fixed costs paid by irrigators and is charged on the basis of delivery share. GMID irrigators raised it as a high priority concern in the Delivery Share Review’s consultation.

Spatial systems and decision-making (action 4.2) have been developed to combine the aims of the Delivery Share Review with those of GMW’s transformation process. The transformation of GMW’s business practices and operations was recommended by a Strategic Advisory Panel appointed by the Minister in 2017.

GMW is applying systems to develop a spatial information platform for the GMID. This expands on the intent of action 4.3, joining spatial information in a portal across agencies and programs to better meet the needs of irrigators. More details are in GMW case study: using spatial information.

Ensure clarity and transparency of GMW pricing

Four actions (5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4) have been taken to make sure that GMID irrigators had the information they wanted about GMW’s pricing. These led to changes in pricing structures through the 2020-2024 price review, with resulting prices approved by the Essential Services Commission and now in place.

These approaches will continue, formalising existing processes to reinvest in the irrigation network to make the most of the long-term benefits to remaining irrigators.

Processes have been included in operations as part of GMW’s business transformation, for confidence that irrigation pricing is based on up-to-date information to support the GMID’s ongoing viability.

Capture delivery shares up front in property transactions

Since early 2019, DELWP and GMW have had processes to make sure that the delivery share on a property and its associated charges are fully disclosed in the Statement of Information provided in property transactions. This completes action 6.1.

DELWP is liaising with the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJSC) to publish guidance on information to be provided in a Section 32 vendor statement ahead of the sale of properties in designated irrigation districts. This information will be included when DJCS releases the next update of its guidance note for conveyancers preparing a Section 32 statement, completing action 6.2.

GMW case study: using spatial information

Spatial information provides the ability to visualise and analyse data geographically. This means that insights can be gained, and decisions made based on information at a specific location and scale.

Information in spatial formats helps irrigators and GMW make informed business decisions. This data helps to communicate complex concepts and explore how decisions will play out at local, regional and district scales. It also helps manage irrigation infrastructure to get the most value out of investments.

When GMW was developing spatial information tools and systems for actions 4.2 and 4.3 of the Delivery Share Review, it expanded on the concept, partnering with other government agencies and irrigation stakeholders to share more spatial information for irrigation business decisions through the One Data Platform project.

GMW has since connected with catchment management authorities and Agriculture Victoria to develop a regional spatial information platform to support irrigated agriculture in the GMID. GMW is actively contributing to the One Data Platform project to understand and respond to the spatial information needs of current and new irrigation customers.

The project partners are engaging with GMID irrigators to get the most value out of this joint approach. They are asking irrigators what kind of spatial information they need, what support is useful to interpret data and how irrigators would like to access the information. This increases the value of GMW’s spatial data and helps irrigators make better informed business decisions.

The final product from this partnership will benefit users more widely beyond a GMW-specific system and offers better value by avoiding overlap and duplication across agencies.

From late 2023, the One Data Platform will provide GMW staff, customers, and stakeholders with a standardised, consistent and scalable data tool for decisions to benefit GMID irrigators and regional management and development.

Staff gathered around a computer looking at spatial data displayed on monitor

Figure 2: GMW staff explore spatial details of GMID infrastructure through tools developed as part of Delivery Share Review actions 4.2 and 4.3.

Page last updated: 31/08/22