We are committed to giving greater support to River Murray irrigators by:
- improving the annual water allocation announcement process
- providing regular probability scenarios for water allocations to inform business planning.
Previous feedback identified that our approach to allocation announcements can be improved to better inform business planning. We also heard that early and consistent announcements, that include probability scenarios, will help to better plan for key business needs.
A proposed new approach is summarised below, with further detail available in the fact sheet. We would like to know what you think of this approach and whether you have any other suggestions to improve the announcement process.
A minimum opening allocation announcement would be made by no later than mid-April, based on the ‘worst case’ forecast of water availability for the next water year as provided by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).
Entitlement holders would receive a range of water allocation outlook information, including:
- the projected minimum opening allocation
- the projected minimum amount of water that will be delivered to South Australia as part of its Entitlement for the following water year
- information on how much water is held in storage for private carryover and critical human water needs (see Figure 2 on page 4 of the fact sheet)
- updated rainfall outlook information across the Murray-Darling Basin from the Bureau of Meteorology (see Figure 3 on page 4 of the fact sheet)
- information on potential allocations for a range of probability scenarios at specified points in time (see Table 1 and Figure 4 on page 5 of the fact sheet)
Prior to the beginning of the new water year, when opening allocations are projected to be less than 100 per cent, the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) would update the projected minimum opening allocations on a monthly basis as well as provide updated allocation outlook information. Actual opening allocations would be announced just prior to the beginning of the water year (1 July). This will be based on the actual volume of water available to South Australia, which may have increased since minimum opening allocations were announced.
During a water year when irrigation allocations are less than 100 percent, DEW would provide updates to allocations on a fortnightly basis and provide updated water outlook information on a monthly basis. In a given water year, no further announcements would be made after allocations reach 100 per cent.
The figure below shows a proposed allocation announcement timeline.
Additional background information on River Murray water allocations can be found here.