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

Through a 24/7, self-service ‘Customer Portal’, water licence and permit holders will have significantly improved capacity to manage their 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 that 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 many cases automation of existing manual processes and pre-population of content will reduce the time taken to submit an application and process an application bringing water trade processing times in South Australia in line with other Murray-Darling Basin states.

Will this affect the cost of applications?

The significant changes to how water licences and permits are administered in South Australia will mean that all fees and charges will be reviewed. Fees and charges will be clearly stated upfront. For some requests, customers will also gain an indication of the likelihood that an application will be approved prior to making the application and paying a fee.

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 the ‘Customer Portal’ 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 ‘Customer Portal’ through their desktop and mobile devices (eg tablet, smartphone).

Will I still be able to lodge applications manually?

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

When can I access the new system?

Work is now underway to configure the new system. It is expected to go live by mid 2021.

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 and a reliance on manual processing can result in delayed and backlogged transactions.

The new system and processes will remove existing barriers to doing business in South Australia; provide greatly enhanced capacity for customers to manage their water resources; assist South Australia to meet its commitments particularly around the Murray-Darling Basin; and ensure South Australia is able to manage and protect its water resources for future generations.

Key features of the new system respond to early engagement with key stakeholders – including growers, water traders and brokers, irrigators, financiers, bore drillers and dam constructors – around where improvements could be made on the current water management system. 

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

Comprehensive feedback from users of DEW’s current water management system – including growers, water traders and brokers, irrigators, financiers, bore drillers and dam constructors - 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 to support South Australian business. All user groups reported they would like to see:

  • a system similar to online banking linking licences, water use, reports, trades etc
  • improved use of technology to approve requests, 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 intent of the new system is for it to be customer-focused and user-friendly. As the system is developed we will be ensuring that concepts are trialled and tested through focus groups to ensure it meets customer requirements. As the project gets underway we will be seeking nominations from a broad diversity of end users and industry groups and will provide updates.

Is this about compliance?

The introduction of the new system is not driven by compliance but it 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?

The $14.7 million program is jointly funded by the Australian Government and the South Australian Government.

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
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