The Victorian Government has done a business case on the feasibility of reversing the north-south water pipeline.
The north-south pipeline, also known as the ‘‘Sugarloaf Pipeline’’, runs from the Goulburn River near Yea, south over the Great Dividing Range to Sugarloaf Reservoir, with water being sent from the south of the state to the north to allow for up to an additional 75Gl of water a year. The government, in its study, admitted that streamflows in some catchments could reduce by nearly half in the next 50 years.
‘‘We know that by 2065, streamflows to some catchments could reduce by about 50 per cent and this would have a significant impact on our farmers, communities, industry and the environment,’’ Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville said.
The summary of the business case said the allocation prices would range from $500 to $1350 depending on the source of water, but the findings did not rule out a reversal down the track.
Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan said the proposed price for temporary water couldn’t be maintained.
‘‘The GMID (Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District) has never seen prices for temporary water consistently over $1350 per megalitre, as the government study suggests will be needed to provide a net profit,’’ she said.
‘‘Even through the 10 years of painful drought our region went through, farmers would still be able to purchase temporary water more cheaply on the open market than they would under Lisa Neville’s plan.’’
Ms Neville said the government would continue to go into bat for those who needed water security.
‘‘We will continue to investigate all options for water security to support those who depend on it the most,’’ she said.