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New website details water purchases.



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PW 111/08 11 July 2008

NEW WEBSITE DETAILS WATER PURCHASES

A new website has been set up to provide information on the Australian Government’s water entitlement purchases.

Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, said the new website contains information on purchases made as part of the Government’s $50 million water entitlement buy-back to help return Murray-Darling Basin rivers to health.

“The website includes aggregated data about the purchases, including volumes, entitlement type, amount spent and water source,” Senator Wong said.

“This data will be progressively refined and updated over time as more purchases are concluded. The confidentiality and privacy of sellers will be protected.”

The Government’s initial $50 million buy-back has secured entitlements to 35 billion extra litres of water for Murray-Darling Basin rivers from willing sellers. This was the first ever direct purchase of water by the Federal Government for the Murray-Darling Basin.

“Purchasing water from willing sellers is a crucial step in supporting healthy rivers and tackling the effects of climate change - priorities under the Government’s Water for the Future plan.

“A Stakeholder Consultative Committee has been appointed to assist in evaluating the success of the $50 million purchase, and to provide feedback on the design and implementation of the Government’s water purchase program into the future.

“Our water purchase program will mean that rivers in the Basin will get a greater share of water as it becomes available.”

Under Water for the Future, the Rudd Government has set aside $3.1 billion to purchase water to put back in Murray-Darling Basin rivers.

In addition, the Government is investing $5.8 billion in sustainable irrigation infrastructure and initiatives to help communities make early adjustments in anticipation of the new Murray-Darling Basin cap on water extractions.

A link to the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin Program website is available at www.environment.gov.au/water.