The Victorian Opposition says it is worried about the effect of implementing a proposed drought water reserve for northern Victorian rivers.
The proposal is contained in a new 50-year river strategy released yesterday and will be implemented in the Goulburn system first, then the Murray region once interstate water sharing issues are resolved.
The plan will create a permanent reserve for each irrigator and will require a once-off banking of half of allocations over 30 per cent to be reserved for the following year's allocation.
It is to be in place by 2012 and would allow for some allocation by August each year, even in severe drought.
But the Opposition's water spokesman, Peter Walsh, says implementing it could have a major impact on irrigators if it is introduced in a low-allocation year.