When the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme is complete, the trading of water will be allowed between members of the scheme.
The rules of the co-operative state that a member of the scheme must be a landowner or leaseholder in the area.
Members will pay an upfront fee for water and have annual fixed and variable charges for their water entitlements.
So how does it work?
Water trading is not new to WA. There are four existing water trading co-operatives in WA – Preston Valley Irrigation, Harvey Water, Ord Irrigation and Gascoyne Water who have been trading water ethically and responsibility within their communities.
Each scheme was developed to help local farmers irrigate their farms sustainably.
The earliest of these Co-ops was established and commenced water trading in the early 2000’s – nearly 20 years ago.
Under these schemes, any member with spare water at any time of the year are able to temporary trade part of their allocation with another member.
The negotiations and payment for temporary water trades is done between members who agree on the price and quantity of water to be traded.
Temporary trading is a way for growers to recoup some of their annual water charges and free up water they won’t be using by trading with someone who may need it more.
The Co-operative is engaging with another water co-operative in WA to find out what the best way to manage the trading of water between members.
There will be a set process for water trading in the SFIS in line with how other WA Co-operatives trade water to ensure a fair and reasonable market.
The trades are individual between two parties and the overall market will be a small and controlled by the membership.
The co-operative is committed to keeping the scheme and its benefits, local.