Environment SA News

SA River Murray allocations again set to open at 100 per cent

For the second successive year, water allocations for South Australian River Murray irrigators are projected to open at 100 per cent.

SA River Murray allocations again set to open at 100 per cent

The recent flood event has kept the River Murray’s storages at very high levels as well as providing much-needed water to the environment, including to some floodplains for the first time in more than 60 years.

River Murray storages are at 89 per cent capacity, which is 50 per cent above the long-term average for the end of March.

The early outlook for water allocations is based on a “worst-case” water availability assessment from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, which indicates that South Australia will receive its full annual River Murray Entitlement of 1,850 gigalitres in 2023-24.

South Australian irrigators use about 424 gigalitres of River Murray water each year, compared to about 200GL used by the remainder of the state.

With such significant demand on the River Murray, it is important the river’s health is maintained with sufficient environmental flows, particularly in drier periods.

This is why the Malinauskas government is working with the Commonwealth to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full, including the 450 GL promised South Australia but not yet delivered.

This will likely include the use of voluntary buybacks, which are by far the most efficient and cost effective way to return environmental water to the system.

As the projected minimum opening allocation is greater than 50 per cent, private carryover will not be available in 2023-24.

For more information visit the Department for Environment and Water’s website and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority website.