Goulburn Murray Irrigation Districts

Outcome 1: Help irrigators adjust delivery shares to better signal infrastructure requirements

1.1 Facilitated market in delivery shares to support asset rationalisation

Complete and closed out

Markets are established and trade – possible since 2008 – is actively promoted by GMW, with a small amount of trade supported following the Delivery Share Review. Trades are recorded in the Victorian Water Register and reported quarterly to monitor for trends.

1.2 Embargo on issue of new delivery shares to promote trade

Continued development with project plans and resources in place

Enacted as a restriction on the issuing of new delivery share, terms and conditions have been developed that meet the intent of the embargo. The restriction is operating through three phases:

  • Enabling phase, to encourage development of the delivery share market.
  • Rebalancing phase, to support delivery share adjustment following the distribution of water shares from the irrigators’ share of water recovered through the Connections Project.
  • Sunset phase, at the conclusion of GMW’s 2020-2024 pricing period embed ongoing processes that promote delivery share trade.

1.3 Support for delivery share market approaches

Complete and closed out

DELWP has prepared and released fact sheets to support delivery share trade, added the capability to record delivery share trade to the Victorian Water Register, and worked with GMW to implement the restriction on issuing new delivery share.

1.4 Termination fee discounts to reduce system costs

Complete and closed out

GMW has developed a new decision-support tool that identifies where termination fees may be discounted or waived to facilitate reconfiguration, without negative impacts on revenue that would need to be recovered from the remaining customer base. GMW’s channel-by-channel tool provides the spatial information to identify where termination fee discounts may be suitable to offer.

1.5 Limited term contracts for delivery service

Complete and closed out

GMW has developed a new decision-support tool that assesses the costs and savings associated with implementing limited term contracts to facilitate reconfiguration. GMW’s channel-by-channel tool provides the spatial information to identify where these contracts may be applied.

Outcome 2: Set tariff and pricing principles that help adjust the infrastructure footprint

2.1 Use cost-reflective tariffs that send strong signals

Embedded in ongoing business practices

Tariff structures and reforms were discussed with stakeholders in GMW’s price review for the 2020-2024 pricing submission. Tariff reform is embedded into the framework for exploration in future pricing reviews, integrating Delivery Share Review actions with established pricing submission requirements and processes.

2.2 Distribute water efficiency dividends based on delivery shares

Complete and closed out

Water recovered through the Connections Project has been distributed to GMID irrigators as water shares or bill credits, with the amount received set by the delivery share they held. This approach was recommended to the Minister for Water by the Irrigators’ Share Consultative Committee, which was formed in response to this action.

Outcome 3: Provide clear benefits to delivery shares in system and service operation

3.1 Improve links between delivery shares and system operation

Embedded in ongoing business practices

GMW is continuing to explore opportunties with customers to provide service or system access benefits on the basis of delivery share.

3.2 Distribute water efficiency dividends based on delivery shares

Complete and closed out

Water recovered through the Connections Project has been distributed to GMID irrigators as water shares or bill credits, with the amount received set by the delivery share they held. This approach was recommended to the Minister for Water by the Irrigators’ Share Consultative Committee, which was formed in response to this action.

Outcome 4: Improving information, communication and transparency on delivery shares

4.1 Transparent information on costs and prices

Embedded in ongoing business practices

GMW has strengthened customer engagement and consultation approaches in its pricing reviews, providing breakdowns of its irrigation charges, including the infrastructure access fee that is calculated based on the rate of delivery share held. Information is being made more readily available and easier to understand through improvements to billing and information statements.

4.2 Spatial decision-making processes and toolbox

Complete and closed out

This action was integrated with spatial data improvements developed through GMW’s Transformation process, resulting in a channel-by-channel spatial assessment tool that captures information on channel condition, water use and delivery share, among other characteristics. The channel-by-channel data informs GMW’s strategic asset management, as well as supporting information-sharing with Water Services Committees and other stakeholders.

4.3 Spatial information

Continued development with project plans and resources in place

GMW is collaborating with DELWP, Agriculture Victoria, Goulburn Broken CMA and other regional agencies to develop a single spatial information portal that integrates data across agencies to meet customer needs and support investment in irrigated agriculture in the GMID.

4.4 General information

Complete and closed out

DELWP and GMW have developed and released fact sheets, newsletter articles, information statements and other tools to improve the information available to irrigators. These materials are reviewed and updated periodically, with new materials developed in response to changing requirements.

Outcome 5: Ensure clarity and transparency of GMW pricing

5.1 Real information on water market trends, pricing and use

Embedded in ongoing business practices

DELWP will continue to monitor and report on water market trends, water ownership and use. GMW will apply the most recent information available to inform its pricing and tariff structures.

5.2 Transparent and data-based pricing principles that reflect changes in water ownership and use

Complete and closed out

GMW applied contemporary data to review pricing structures through its review of pricing for the 2020-2024 pricing submission. The Essential Services Commission endorsed the resulting pricing structure, which

  • removed tariff differences between accounts that are linked to land and those that have been disassociated
  • moved storage fees to a system-based (Murray or Goulburn) pricing structure

integrated prices across the GMID to set a single infrastructure access fee rate for all delivery share holders within this district (excluding customers on the Woorinen pipeline, which has a previously established pricing structure).

5.3 Billing systems built on real costs

Complete and closed out

GMW’s billing systems have been updated and integrated with customer information systems and water use data to provide more accurate and up to date billing information.

5.4 Termination fees used to manage system costs

Complete and closed out

GMW has put in place measures to ensure revenue from termination fees is separated from general revenue and used for activities that manage irrigation delivery system operations and costs. This is captured in annual financial reporting.

Outcome 6: Capture delivery shares up from in property transactions

6.1 Information in property sales – water corporations

Complete and closed out

GMW has updated the information automatically provided to new customers on a Section 158 information statement so that any delivery share on the property is noted, along with the associated charges.

6.2 Information in property sales – government

Complete and closed out

DELWP has made changes to the Victorian Water Register to ensure that delivery share is accurately captured when generating Section 158 forms.

Working with the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS), DELWP has provided information on properties within designated irrigation districts – including delivery share – for the next update of the guidance note for Section 32 vendor statements. The guidance note is used by conveyancers to assist with the preparation of the Section 32 statement.

Lower Murray Water irrigation districts

Outcome 1: Facilitate markets, products and trade in delivery shares

1.1 Facilitated market in delivery shares

Complete and closed out

Trade in delivery share is now well established in LMW’s Sunraysia districts, with LMW actively assisting interested buyers to identify potential sellers. Trades have largely been at $0 value, with one positive price transaction recorded.

1.2 Seasonal delivery shares

Embedded in ongoing practices

LMW is working with customers to explore the potential for seasonal delivery products. This work is ongoing as part of responding to changing customer needs and has been integrated into a new irrigation strategy to be implemented in the 2023-24 irrigation season.

Seasonal delivery products are also being explored as part of LMW’s participation in state-wide initiatives that are addressing water delivery risks and opportunities to improve water market and Water Register capabilities.

1.3 Support for delivery share market approaches

Complete and closed out

DELWP has prepared and released fact sheets to support delivery share trade. Capability was also added to the Victorian Water Register to record delivery share trade.

Outcome 2: Improve tools for managing system operation and delivery constraints

2.1 Priority volumetric access

Embedded in ongoing business practices

LMW trialled its new capacity sharing tool with Red Cliffs customers in the 2020-21 irrigation season. The trial was expanded to all irrigation areas in the 2021-22 season. Pending an evaluation of the trial outcomes, LMW intends to roll the tool out to all customers in the 2022-23 season to ensure channel capacity is fairly and transparently managed in peak demand periods. Priority volumetric access will be further rolled out in a targeted approach to customers over upcoming seasons.

Outcome 3: Improving information, communication and transparency on delivery shares

3.1 Spatial decision-making processes and toolbox

Continued development with project plans and resources in place

LMW is working with software developers to build a spatial platform that will help to make the spatial information that has been compiled and verified under Action 3.2 more accessible for both staff and customers. This work forms part of LMW’s broader business transformation strategy.

3.2 Spatial information

Continued development with project plans and resources in place

LMW stepped up to the challenge of fully digitising and verifying the full set of records on channel design, capacity and delivery share. This means that validated information is now easily accessed in answering customer enquiries and identifying spare cannel capacity or areas with risks of delivery constraints. This information is now incorporated into LMW’s normal operations.

3.3 General information

Complete and closed out

DELWP and LMW have developed and released fact sheets, newsletter articles, information statements and other tools to improve the information around delivery share that is available to irrigators. These materials are periodically reviewed and updated, with new materials developed in response to changing requirements.

3.4 Information in property sales – water corporations

Complete and closed out

LMW has ensured that accurate information on any delivery share attached to a property, and the associated charges, is captured on the Section 158 information statement provided to new customers.

3.5 Information in property sales – government

Complete and closed out

DELWP has made changes to the Victorian Water Register to ensure that delivery share is accurately captured when generating Section 158 forms.

Working with the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJSC), DELWP has provided information on properties within designated irrigation districts – including delivery share – for the next update of the guidance note for Section 32 vendor statements. The guidance note is used by conveyancers to assist with the preparation of the Section 32 statement.

Outcome 4: Strengthen and clarify over-arching principles for delivery shares and termination fees

4.1 Real information on water market trends, pricing and use

Complete and closed out

DELWP will continue to monitor and report on water market trends, water ownership and use. LMW will apply the most recent information available to inform its asset management and assessments of delivery risks. This information will also help to inform LMW’s future pricing and tariff structures.

4.2 Termination fee guidelines – discounts

Complete and closed out

LMW has formalised guidelines to consider where a termination fee discount may be granted, based around the ability for LMW to realise cost reductions by retiring assets upon customer requests, rather than proactively looking to rationalise assets.

4.3 Termination fee guidelines – investment

Complete and closed out

Termination fees collected are allocated to consolidated revenue for the individual district from which they are collected.

This revenue is allocated back to the district in the following financial year to put downwards pressure on the district pricing.

Page last updated: 31/08/22