Water trading up as dry conditions continue

Water trading from Paradise Dam has increased.
Paradise Dam is one of two major storages that supplies water to Bundaberg Region irrigators.

Bundaberg Region irrigators are trading more water as dry conditions reduce storage capacity, according to the latest Australian Water Markets annual report.

As at 30 June 2019, the total dam storage in Queensland was 67 percent full, compared to 75 percent at 30 June 2018.

The Burnett opening allocation for 2019-20 was 71 per cent compared with 89 per cent a year ago.

In Queensland during 2018-19, the volume of temporary water traded increased by 39 percent, while permanent volumes increased by 19 percent.

The volume of temporary water traded was the highest in the Bundaberg and Burdekin-Haughton markets, where 60 percent of all Queensland water was traded.

The report says in both these markets, temporary water prices increased from 2017-18.

At 30 June 2019 the entitlement volume in the Bundaberg Region was 375,829 megalitres with a value of $311 million — up $91 million on the previous year.

The average monthly number of temporary trades for 2018-19 in Bundaberg increased by 226 percent from 2017-18.

There was also an increase of 10 percent in the volumes and quantities traded.

Temporary trade prices reached a peak in March 2019 at $50 per ML. The average temporary price decreased by 2 per cent from 2017-18, to approximately $41 per ML in 2018-19.

This is much lower than parched areas of New South Wales where temporary water prices peaked at $850 per ML in the Murrumbidgee, some $600 higher than the peak in 2017-18.

The volume of permanent entitlements traded in Bundaberg increased by 92 percent from 2017-18 to 567 ML per month in 2018-19. The annual weighted average price remained the same.

In September 2018, SunWater placed a tender resulting in the sale of 12,000 ML of Bundaberg Medium Priority water for a minimum 10-year term allocation in Paradise Dam.

This tender was fully awarded.

Storages on the Kolan and Burnett rivers (the major storage being Fred Haigh Dam) supply water to the scheme via a series of pump stations, balancing storages, channels and pipelines. The allocation and delivery figures include those from Paradise Dam.

Bundaberg Region storage*

Paradise Dam80.1%
Fred Haigh Dam75.27%
Ben Anderson Barrage68.12%
Bucca Weir60%
Kolan Barrage90.31%
Ned Churchward Weir65.65%

* SunWater data, 19 August 2019