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Tradeable water entitlements in the SA River Murray

Overview of water access entitlements in the SA River Murray

The current South Australian Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse (WAP) includes four consumptive pools and six classes of water access entitlement shares, rather than one consumptive pool and nine entitlement classes under the previous WAP.

For consistency, the new entitlement classes align with the previous classes almost exactly. The only difference is that the previous Classes 3a, 3b, 4 and 7 have been grouped into a single new class called Class 3 within the All Purpose Consumptive Pool.

Classes 3a, 3b, 4 and 7 have been combined because they have always been, and will continue to be, treated equally with respect to their allocation histories, tradability and access to carryover; so it made sense to simplify things by bringing them into the same class.

  • If you are an existing holder of Class 3a, 3b, 4 and 7 water access entitlement shares, you will automatically be re-issued with new Class 3 shares as well as updated water take and use authorisations (where necessary) after 1 July 2018.
  • This means that your current water licence as well as your current take and use authorisations will remain in force until the new authorisations are issued to you.

Overall, the structure of the new consumptive pools and classes recognises the need to have different management criteria, characteristics and purposes. 

Tables detailing the new consumptive pools and water access entitlement share classes are provided in the WAP .

  • Table 3 on page 14: Breakdown of Consumptive Pools
  • Table 12 on page 84: Consumptive pools, purposes, and classes of unit share
  • Table 13 on page 89: Water access entitlements in each consumptive pool  

A separate Consumptive Pools fact sheet developed by the Natural Resources SA Murray‑Darling Basin may be helpful to you in understanding the changes.

Tradeable SA River Murray water access entitlements

All South Australian River Murray water access entitlement shares are tradeable, with the exception of Class 6 shares within the Metropolitan Adelaide Consumptive Pool and Class 8 shares within the All Purpose Consumptive Pool i.e. Class 6 and Class 8 shares under the previous WAP.

Of the remaining water access entitlement share classes, the main tradeable consumptive entitlements include those in Classes 1, 3 and 5 of the All Purpose Consumptive Pool. The total volume on entitlement in these classes is 621.736 GL (assuming allocations of 1 kilolitre per share or 100 per cent) and 98 per cent of that volume is within Class 3. The remaining share classes include:

  • Class 2 in the All Purpose Consumptive Pool: these entitlement shares are held by SA Water to deliver water to country towns along the River Murray in SA
  • Class 9 in the Wetland and Environmental Consumptive Pools: these entitlement shares are predominantly held for land and environmental water management purposes.

The separation of Class 9 entitlement shares across the Wetland and Environmental Consumptive Pools reflects differences in the ownership of the entitlement shares. i.e. shares in the Wetland Consumptive Pool are owned by the SA Minister for the River Murray, and the shares in the Environment Consumptive Pool are owned by the Commonwealth Government under Agreements with the South Australian Government.

Overview of the key characteristics of SA water access entitlements

The key characteristics of each of the South Australian River Murray water access entitlement share classes are summarised in Table 2 of the Consumptive Pools Factsheet developed by Natural Resources SA Murray‑Darling Basin.

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