At the Griffith Riverina Field Days there was a lot of excitement to be had, but it seemed the biggest event of the weekend was the water auction, which saw record sales smashed.
The Area News spoke to Water Trades Officer and Griffith representative of Wilks Water, Alexandria Koenig who commented about the momentous occasion where over $7 million in water was sold, and gave us a quick introduction to the world of water buying and selling.
“The aim of the auction was to find out what the water is really worth,” Ms Koenig said.
“Categories included permanent general and high security surface water, permanent groundwater, supplementary water, carryover, temporary surface and groundwater and forward water.”
Over 80 registered bidders – farmers and irrigators – from all over Australia, and an estimated crowd of over 300 – mostly from the Griffith region – came to the Riverina Field Days to buy water.
Phone bidders from Brisbane, Adelaide, Victoria, and even overseas also looked to get their hands on water which is currently in high demand, particularly due to the recent dry spells.
“With the dry season, people just want that security,” Ms Koenig said.
On the day, NSW permanent high security surface water was in highest demand, however zone 3 permanent groundwater also sold well, for $2475 per megalitre.
“High security water smashed records. Parcels sold for $5,000 or more per megalitre,” Ms Koenig said.
“High security water gives you that peace of mind – to help you plan ahead.”
Parcels varied in size, with some at two megalitres – for high security surface water – and another at 100 megalitres.
“And of course, there is only a certain amount of parcels – not everyone can take home water on the day. Demand is still high for this permanent high security water,” Ms Koenig said.
“There are still farmers willing to pay that money which goes to show you the demand for it, and goes to show how much the water is worth.”
“The aim of the auction each year is to find out what water is really worth, and it’s an open and transparent way of doing so with plenty of opportunity for both buyers and sellers. Overall it was a great result for those who entrusted their water with Wilks Water,” Ms Koenig said.
The Area News also spoke with Chief Executive Officer of the Riverina Wine Grapes Marketing Board, Brian Simpson, who commented on the Riverina Field Days success:
“Water is the lifeblood of this area – there are big developments going on in the region,” Cr Simpson said.
But, Cr Simpson believes it is the nut growers of the region who will need their water to be secured.
“We’re aware of an increase in plantings in the region of nut crops – they are a big user of water, and there is a potential for this area to really expand in nut production,” Cr Simpson said.
“Those companies would be looking to secure water going forward, as opposed to buying it on the temporary market.”
On the ‘smashed records’, Cr Simpson noted:
“It’s a positive thing. It means that the growers’ assets and values in their properties will improve as a result of a strong market.”
“It’s great – it’s great for the region.”
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