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SA’s River Murray water allocations reach 100 per cent

Water allocations for South Australian River Murray users have now reached 100 per cent for the 2020-21 water year.

In good news for irrigators, water allocations have now reached 100 per cent for 2020-21.

River Murray Water Delivery Manager with the Department for Environment and Water, Chrissie Bloss said for allocations to reach 100 per cent before the start of spring was very welcome news for South Australian River Murray irrigators, providing them with the business certainty that they need going into the peak growing season.

“There has been some much-needed rain across the Murray-Darling Basin in 2020 and to have water allocations reach 100 per cent is a fantastic result for our food producers,” Chrissie said.

“While I know many irrigators were confident about the conditions and outlook coming into the new water year, it is pleasing to see South Australian irrigation allocations reach 100 per cent so quickly.

“This is reminiscent of the 2016-17 water year, when there was a similarly rapid turnaround in water availability by August.

“Once again, the possibility of such rapid improvements reinforces the need for irrigators to look beyond worst-case scenarios when considering the allocation information and projections put out by the department.

“With the Bureau of Meteorology advising that further rainfall is likely in the next three months, South Australian irrigators will now also be watching to see whether this translates into higher storage levels and improved water availability heading into 2021-22.”

Chrissie explained that in relation to carryover, the existing 100 per cent limit on the combined allocation and carryover volumes granted under Class 3 (High Security) entitlements continues to apply in 2020-21. Now that allocations have reached 100 per cent this limit has been reached for all water users. 

“Any part of an allocation increase that would have taken a water user above 100 per cent will now go into a rollover account,” Chrissie said. 

Under a rule change that came into effect on 1 July 2020, allocation volumes that would take an account above the 100 per cent limit in 2020-21 will be ‘rolled over’ into 2021-22. Rollover volumes will only be available if the minimum opening allocation announced in April 2021 is 50 per cent or less, triggering carryover for 2021-22. 

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