Farmers trade water to stay afloat


From the Sydney Morning Herald

The total area of crops irrigated in the Murrumbidgee region was 311 hectares compared with 96 hectares in the Goulburn-Broken region.

Water trading in 2006/07 also helped irrigation farmers respond to increased water scarcity in the basin, ABARE said.

Trading permits assisted farmers in the basin by either allowing them to sell off their allocations or purchase water to continue farming.

“The ability to trade water appears to have assisted some irrigators in avoiding substantial financial losses in 2006/07, either by obtaining income from water sales or by purchasing water to maintain production,” ABARE said.

An estimated 2 per cent of irrigators were involved in trading permanent water entitlements, while about a quarter of farms traded water on a temporary basis.

About 31 per cent of dairy farms, 20 per cent of broadacre farms and 23 per cent of horticulture farms participated in temporary water trading over the same period.

The proportion of farms participating in water trading was the largest (between 40 and 50 per cent) in the Murrumbidgee, Murray, Goulburn-Broken and Loddon-Avoca regions.

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