Our response to COVID-19

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How will I benefit from the new register and licensing processes?

A 24/7, online self-service customer portal called MyWater will give water licence and permit holders a simple way to manage water requirements in response to their business needs. They will be able to:

  • better manage and understand their water accounts
  • apply to trade water entitlements and allocations
  • make online applications and payments
  • monitor the progress of an application
  • take advantage of shorter application processing times
  • manage and update their contact details.

What requests will I be able to lodge through the new system when it is live?

DEW currently administers 170 individual water management-related application forms. These forms will be consolidated and accessible through the new system. For example, customers will be able to:

  • view, apply for, vary or cancel a water licence
  • apply to transact a temporary or permanent water trade
  • apply, vary, or renew a well drillers licence
  • apply for a well construction permit
  • provide notification of an installed, replaced, moved, repaired or removed water meter
  • submit a water meter reading
  • apply for or vary a site use approval.

Will my applications be processed faster?

In most cases, yes. Many processes will now be automated, and improvements like content pre-population will reduce the time it takes to submit and therefore process an application. This will bring water trade processing times in South Australia in line with other Murray-Darling Basin states.

Will this affect the cost of applications?

Fees and charges will be clearly stated upfront and will be reviewed one year after the new system is implemented.

Will third party representatives – banks, lawyers and water brokers – be able to do business on my behalf?

Yes. Water brokers, financial institutions, and lawyers/conveyancers will have their own access permissions to MyWater, where they can be authorised to act as third party representatives conducting business on behalf of their customers.

Will the portal be available on my devices?

Yes, customers will be able to access the MyWater portal through their desktop and mobile devices (eg tablet, smartphone).

Will I still be able to lodge applications manually?

Yes. Customers who prefer or require more traditional (offline) means of doing business will continue to be supported by DEW staff who will be available by email or telephone.

However, manual applications will not enjoy the benefits of the new online system, such as faster processing and being able to track the progress of your application.

When can I access the new system?

Work is now underway to configure the new system. It is expected to go live by late 2022.

Do I need to do anything now?

Not at the moment; work is commencing to configure the system first.

Will I need to register?

When we begin preparing for the system to go live we will let water licensees know what steps are needed to access it.

Why is the new water register and licensing processes important?

There is a significant economic and regulatory imperative to deliver a new water management system for South Australia. The current system has served South Australia well but it is ageing and increasingly inflexible for the modern water market. The reliance on manual processing can result in delayed and backlogged transactions.

The new system will remove existing barriers to doing business in South Australia and will give customers the power to manage their water resources. It will help South Australia to meet its commitments, particularly around the Murray-Darling Basin, and ensure the state is able to manage and protect its water resources for future generations.

Key features of the new system were developed in response to early engagement with key stakeholders – including growers, water traders and brokers, irrigators, financiers, bore drillers and dam constructors – who told us where improvements could be made on the current water management system.

How were stakeholders involved in defining the improvements to the new system?

Users of DEW’s current water management system – including growers, water traders and brokers, irrigators, financiers, bore drillers and dam constructors – provided comprehensive feedback that was essential to developing the business case and securing funding to develop the new water licensing system. The industry group interviewees represented over 2400 irrigators and growers and there was general agreement and support for water management system reform.

All user groups reported they would like to see:

  • a system similar to online banking linking licences, water use, reports and trades
  • improved use of technology to approve requests and submit meter readings (eg mobile, smartphone)
  • improved tracking of application progress
  • improved data access (eg water allocation)
  • a more intuitive (customer-centric) entrance to system (eg through primary water source).

Are you testing the new system with users?

Yes. The new system is designed to be customer-focused and user-friendly. As the nears completion we will be seeking nominations for testers from a broad diversity of end users and industry groups.

Is this about compliance?

The introduction of the new system will enable customers and DEW to manage their compliance obligations and avoid over-extraction of water by providing alerts where annual extraction (diversion) limits are close to being exceeded. This will enable customers to take action and DEW to intervene where necessary, ensuring the integrity of South Australia's water resources are maintained.

South Australia already does compliance well and is committed to continuous improvement. Significantly improved data quality will allow the state to continue to meet its compliance and reporting commitments, particularly in relation to the Murray Darling Basin.

How are the reforms being funded?

This project is delivered under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan by the Department for Environment and Water’s Water Management Solutions Program team through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Where can I find out more information?

If you would like more information you can email the Water Management Solutions team, or contact the Water Licensing Branch – if they are unable to answer your question they will find someone who can:

  • Adelaide: (08) 8463 6876
  • Berri: (08) 8595 2053
  • Mt Gambier: (08) 8735 1134.