About 57,000 megalitres of water to be transferred from Windamere Dam to Burrendong Dam in November already belongs to licensees in the Macquarie Valley, reports Macquarie River Food and Fibre (MRFF).
MRFF has also revealed that the upkeep of both dams is largely covered by water charges paid to WaterNSW by Macquarie Valley irrigators.
The peak organisation for irrigators in the valley has weighed into a row over the bulk transfer that will be carried out under the Water Sharing Plan for the Macquarie and Cudgegong Regulated Rivers Water Source 2016.
A statement issued by the Department of Industry (Water) on July 25 reports that the planned bulk water transfer will support the delivery of “just 75 per cent of carryover allocations remaining in irrigators’ and environmental accounts” in 2018/2019.
Currently the irrigators have “zero” general security allocations.
Windamere Dam users are planning a protest on Saturday out of concern for its future water levels.
Mid-Western Regional Council has passed a motion to review the modelling provided by WaterNSW on Windamere Dam.
“People not within our region want to take the water from our region,” Cr Peter Shelley said.
“As far as I’m concerned they’re stealing water.”
But MRFF executive officer Grant Tranter said water was “traded from Windamere Dam down to Burrendong Dam all the time”.
“When a licensee makes that purchase the water isn’t necessarily moved- it’s a paper transfer,” he said.
“So now all they (WaterNSW) are doing is physically moving that water in one bulk transfer.
“It’s already in Burrendong, just not physically in Burrendong.”
Mr Tranter said WaterNSW typically held back bulk water transfers.
“But given the conditions it is required,” he said.