Water Week

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Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) trades in permanent water entitlements or temporary water allocations

Posted by waterweek on 5 October 2007

Clause 105 of the Water Bill 2007 provides that the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) is to manage the Commonwealth environmental water holdings and administer the Environmental Water Holdings Special Account, according to advice from the Department of Parliamentary Service released on 14 August 2007.

Icon sites receive special attention: According to the second reading speech, the CEWH will be required to ensure that water is delivered to achieve environmental watering objectives. This would include environmental watering objectives for icon sites currently being pursued under the Living Murray Initiative, in particular provision of additional water to the Coorong and Murray Mouth.

Commonwealth environmental water holdings defined: Clause 108 defines Commonwealth environmental water holdings as being the rights that the Commonwealth holds that are:

• water access rights;

• water delivery rights;

• irrigation rights; and

• other similar rights relating to water excluding those rights that the Commonwealth holds in the performance of functions that are not related to the Bill, for example, water rights held by the Department of Defence.

Permitted activities: Subclause 105(2) sets out what the CEWH can do in managing Commonwealth environmental water holdings. They include:

• conducting trade in permanent water entitlements or temporary water allocations;

• entering into contracts for buying and selling water rights and the use of those rights; and,

• maintaining records of the water rights owned by the Commonwealth.

According to subclause 105(4) the CEWH must manage Commonwealth environmental water holdings in accordance with applicable planning documents including the environmental watering plan and environmental watering schedules which are established under Part 2 of the Water Act.

Rules outside the Murray-Darling Basin: Where the Commonwealth holds water outside the Murray-Darling Basin, the applicable planning document will be any plan that relates to environmental water in that area and which has been specified in regulations. Where there is no plan, the CEWH must have regard to both the operating rules which the Minister has set under section 109, and any relevant environmental watering schedules to which it is a party.

Reference: Bill McCormick, Science, Technology, Environment, and Resources Section, Water Bill 2007 – Angus Martyn and Paula Pyburne Law and Bills Digest Section, Parliamentary Library Information – analysis and advice for the Parliament, Parliament of Australia Department of Parliamentary Service, 14 August 2007, no. 30, 2007-08, ISSN 1328-8091.

Erisk Net, 16/8/2007

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