IRRIGATORS with only a few megalitres of entitlement risk losing thousands of dollars of water under new carryover rules.
Last month Water Minister Peter Walsh announced carryover would be capped to 100 per cent of entitlement from July next year.
Victorian Farmers Federation water council chairman Richard Anderson said the changes would hit irrigators with small entitlements, such as young farmers.
"Young farmers can afford to buy land, but not the permanent water, so they may be buying temporary water, which they can't carry over," Mr Anderson said.
He said an irrigator who had small entitlement of 5ML and bought 50ML of water to grow a crop could face forfeiting any water left over at the end of the season. If they used only 35ML, they would lose the remaining 15ML.
Mr Anderson, a member of the Carryover Review Committee, said a longer transition period would have allowed irrigators with excess water time to sell or use the water.
Mr Walsh said the water year began on July 1, so it was appropriate to introduce the changes at the start of the next water year. Entitlement holders knew the committee had been working nearly 12 months and had until the end of this season to prepare for the new arrangements.