(Issued by Department of Agriculture)
A review into the Water for the Environment Special Account (WESA) will be conducted to evaluate whether current resources are adequate to achieve the Murray-Darling Basin Plan target of 450 GL of additional environmental water and to ease or remove constraints by 2024.
The WESA was established with $1.775 billion over ten years, of which $1.575 billion is projected to fund the recovery of 450 gigalitres of environmental water with neutral or improved social and economic outcomes.
$200 million in the WESA will contribute to the easing or removal of constraints to deliver the environmental water.
The Water Act 2007 provides for two reviews of the WESA.
A three person independent panel has now been appointed by the Minister for Water Resources to conduct the first of those reviews. The first review will be completed by early 2020.
As well as evaluating the WESA resources, the panel will review the progress made to date and consider the anticipated work required to reach the target by 2024. They will also consider whether the design of projects is likely to be effective.
The panel will undertake consultation with stakeholders to inform the review, including inviting submissions from the public.
The three panellists are Ms Sally Farrier (chair), Mr Simon Lewis AO PSM and Ms Merran Kelsall FCPA FCA. Together they bring a wealth of expertise and experience in Commonwealth water matters – spanning public and private sectors, and including expertise in policy, engineering, infrastructure, governance, audit, risk, finance and the water sector.
Information about the review is available on the department’s website: agriculture.gov.au/water/mdb/policy/wesa-review
As of 30 June 2019, $16.1 million has been contracted for efficiency measures and $71.8 million has been contracted for constraints measures.