The $73 million, 680,000-hectare Upper South East Dryland Salinity and Flood Management Program (USE Program) commenced in the 1990s to address community concerns about dryland salinity, waterlogging, degradation and fragmentation of ecosystems.
The drainage system was completed in June 2011. It is the first of its kind anywhere in the world in terms of its expanse, magnitude, and aims, which were to drain saline groundwater and fresh floodwater from the landscape, to deliver water of appropriate quality for agricultural and environmental purposes so as to achieve economic, social and environmental objectives.
In addition to the drains, the system has 210 on-ground monitoring sites, more than 400 recognised wetland areas and 156 biodiversity management agreements which protect close to 18,500 hectares of high-conservation value native vegetation.
Between 2003 and 2006 the $14.2 million Restoring Flows to Wetlands in the Upper South East (REFLOWS) Project was developed within the USE Program. Its aim was to capture surface water from the Lower South East that was being drained to the sea and redirect it along natural flow paths to the Upper South East. Within a month of completing these works, water was flowing north and re-hydrating wetlands that had been dry for nearly a decade.
The previous USE Act established three separate classes of acquisition of property interests, each of which is dealt with differently for the purpose of compensation. The initial procedural requirements of the Land Acquisition Act 1969 do not apply with any entitlement to compensation being entirely dealt with in terms of the previous USE Act.
Land subject to a Category A acquisition involves land where the Minister has acquired an unencumbered fee simple estate and mainly involves those corridors constructed prior to the commencement of the USE Act.
Category B project works corridors involves the bulk of the land compulsorily acquired as a statutory easement. In these instances the landholder still retains ownership of the land upon which the Minister has constructed the drain network. This category represents the majority of the scheme.
Category C project works corridors involve land compulsorily acquired as a statutory easement. In these instances the landholder still retains ownership of the land upon which the Minister has constructed the floodway network. This category is more closely aligned to the acquisition principles of the Land Acquisition Act 1969.
The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) is undertaking a transparent process to receive and assess all compensation claims under the USE Act to determine landholder entitlements to compensation.
All enquiries relating to the assessment and/or determination of any compensation are to be directed to:
Mr Laurence Kennedy
Senior Project Officer Completions, DEWNR
GPO Box 2834
Adelaide SA 5001
Phone (08) 8463 3531
Mobile 0408 850 877