Thursday, December 23, 2021

Beware of Vampires!

Vampires are on the loose, but it’s not our blood they’re after. It’s another fluid equally as precious. They are after our water, or more particularly, the profits they can make from Australia’s open and deregulated water market.

Vanguard previously discussed the Australian water market in an article Sold Down The River in October this year. Lately, a US registered company, Aqua Ceres has been seeking investors willing to put at least $500,000 each into Australian water entitlement purchases. They want to raise $193 million to buy about 25,000 megalitres of high-reliability water entitlement within two years. They are gambling on the expectation that climate change and increasing horticultural demand will drive water entitlement prices up, allowing them to make enormous profits.

 Aqua Ceres points out that “water is the most critical of earth’s natural resources”, and it’s “a natural hedge against climate change.” They state that “investing with Aqua Ceres enables investors to invest in water directly without direct exposure to many of the usual operational and production risks associated with farm ownership.”
The Aqua Ceres Australian Water Offshore Fund is incorporated in the Cayman Islands. They have set up what they call a “Cayman mini master structure”, which will allow both non-US and US tax-exempt investors to direct their funds through a Cayman Islands feeder fund. The whole thing is starting to smell like a dead Murray River carp!
To cap it off, one of the Australian directors of Aqua Ceres was a director of the Australian subsidiary of a US company which was in trouble with the NSW Government in 2015 over that company’s actions in ploughing Aboriginal burial mounds and clearing native vegetation on a property in western NSW.
Water users predict that the actions of Aqua Ceres could cause massive disruption in the water market and drive up the price of permanent high-security water to a point where it would be unsustainable for irrigators, including even the large-scale almond growers.

It is reported that other US companies are also looking to get into the Australian water market. They want to exploit looming supply-demand imbalance of Australian irrigation water. Small irrigators, farm workers, country people and all of us who are consumers are suffering due to foreign control of our water. We need to unite and drive a wooden stake through the hearts of the water vampires!  

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