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Recent rains see projected River Murray water availability increase

South Australian River Murray water allocations are likely to reach 100 per cent before the start of next summer if average inflow conditions are experienced over the next six months, according to today’s updated allocation statement release.

It is likely that the late April and May rainfall events will provide improvements to South Australia’s water availability for 2020-21.

Even under an extreme dry scenario, allocations are projected to reach around 60 per cent by the end of the 2020-21 water year.


The worst-case projected opening allocations has increased from two per cent to eight per cent with the next update to be provided on 15 June.


These projections are based on historical inflow data from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and represent a significantly improved outlook, even when compared to one month ago.


River Murray Water Delivery Manager Jarrod Eaton said that increased rainfall across the Murray-Darling Basin has resulted in South Australia’s minimum River Murray Entitlement increasing to 900 gigalitres (GL), providing a more positive outlook for the start of the 2020-21 water year. 


“This is a positive turnaround compared to the dry and warm conditions observed in previous months,” Mr Eaton said.


“It is likely that the late April and May rainfall events will provide improvements to South Australia’s water availability for 2020-21 and confidence can be taken from long-range Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that predict further rainfall across the Basin for the start of the water year.


“In thinking about water availability for 2020-21, irrigators are strongly encouraged to take into account the range of probability scenarios for potential allocation improvements outlined in today’s allocation statement, rather than focusing on the projected worst case minimum allocation.


“The worst-case minimum (eight per cent) is based on storage levels at the end of April. This is inherently conservative and is adopted to minimise the risk of allocations going backwards.


“However, significant improvements across 2020-21 remain likely, as most inflows to the River Murray system historically occur between July and November.”


For more detail on projected improvements throughout the water year, people are encouraged to refer to today’s River Murray Allocation Statement, which will be updated next on 15 June 2020.

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