The Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse includes principles to guide the process for making water available for allocation to entitlement holders. Water available for allocation comes from South Australia’s River Murray Entitlement of up to 1,850 gigalitres (GL) per annum under the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement (the Agreement).
The River Murray Water Allocation Plan sets out a transparent approach to making water available for allocation and the hierarchy applied when allocations are made. This takes into account economic, social and environmental considerations.
How is the volume of water available to South Australia from the River Murray determined?
In most years, South Australia receives its full Entitlement of 1,850 GL, which is made up of:
- Dilution and Loss Entitlement – 696 GL
- Consumptive Entitlement – 1,154 GL
The actual volume of Entitlement that South Australia receives each year is determined by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) in accordance with the water sharing rules of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement. These rules set out how water must be shared between South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
Once advised by the MDBA on Entitlement availability, the principles in the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse guide the process for determining how much water can be made available for allocation.
What happens in dry years?
During dry periods, South Australia’s Entitlement may be less than 1,850 GL. In these years, there may not be enough water available to meet the needs of all water users, including the environment. A transparent process for allocation decision making assists all water users in planning and preparing for dry conditions. This process is explained in the water allocation fact sheet.
When South Australia does not receive its full Entitlement of 1,850GL, the opening allocation for any water access entitlement on 1 July may be less than 1 kL per share. When this happens, allocations are reviewed at least monthly until South Australia is advised by the MDBA that it will receive its full Entitlement. If water conditions and storage volumes improve, allocations to water access entitlement holders can be increased.
River Murray water allocation frameworks