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Topics > River Murray > Water allocation

Carryover and other options

Private carryover in 2022–23

In accordance with the Water Allocation Plan for the South Australian River Murray Prescribed Watercourse, access to private carryover is only available to eligible users when the projected minimum opening irrigation allocation is 50% or less.

As the worst case projected minimum opening allocation for 2022–23 is 100% private carryover will NOT be available in the 2022–23 water year.

Private carryover in 2021–22

As the worst case projected minimum opening allocation for 2021–22 was 82% private carryover was not available the 2021–22 water year.

Private carryover in 2020–21

Private carryover was made available for eligible water users in the 2020–21 water year. Entitlement holders were able to carry over their unused 2019–20 allocations, up to 20% of the volume of their Class 3 (High Security) entitlement.

South Australian Private Carryover

Private carryover is a drought management measure that allows water to be stored in one year and used in the next. In dry years, water entitlement holders may have access to water that they didn’t use in the previous year.

Carryover is not always allowed – it is made available when the projected minimum opening water allocation, announced in April each year, is 50% or less.

Entitlement holders can increase their allocation using this method by up to 20% at the beginning of a water year. However, your allocation in a water year cannot exceed 100%. This ensures that we comply with the South Australian sustainable diversion limit (SDL) in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and don’t take a higher volume than is allowed.

Rollover rules recently changed

Private carryover rules were recently changed following community consultation to allow excess volumes to be ‘rolled over’ if allocations plus carryover exceed 100%.

Any leftover volume that takes a water account over 100% spills into a rollover account. This applies from 1 July 2020.

How carryover works

The 2020 Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse sets out how private carryover is calculated and who is eligible.

Key points:

  • When carryover is granted you can carry over any unused water on your account, up to 20% of the volume of Class 3 (High Security) water access entitlements you hold.
  • You must provide your final water meter reading by 31 July to be eligible for carryover.
  • The carryover amount plus allocations against your entitlement cannot exceed 100%.

What if allocations increase to 100% during the water year?

If conditions improve after carryover has been announced and allocations increase to 100%, the volume above 100% will spill into a ‘rollover’ account. Should the next water year open at 50% or less, you will be able to access the rollover volume.

Once a minimum opening allocation, announced in April each year, is greater than 50%, carryover will no longer apply and any volumes rolled over from a previous year will no longer be available.

The volume of water that can be made available for private carryover is based on how much water is stored in upstream storages for carryover purposes, and how much water was traded into South Australia between 1 April and 30 June in the previous water use year (and remained unused on 30 June).

If there is insufficient water available to meet the total carryover demand, the volume of water granted to an individual will be reduced proportionally.

Private carryover has been made possible through arrangements in the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, which allow the South Australian Government to store (defer) water in upstream storages.

Read the FAQs on SA Private Carryover.

See how carryover works in other states.

How to access more water allocation

If you require additional water, then there are a number of ways to secure it:

  1. Purchase water allocation on the ‘spot’ water market as needed.
  2. Purchase water allocation on the ‘forward’ market, in which a buyer can enter a contract with a seller to buy water allocation for a set price, and receive it at an agreed date in the future. This can be a way to mitigate against future pricing uncertainties.
  3. Purchase an interstate water entitlement with carryover characteristics that better match your requirements.
  4. Enter a contract to temporarily ‘park’ your spare water allocation in the carryover capacity of an eligible entitlement of an interstate water holder.

Options 2 to 4 are available through water brokers, who can talk through the options with you.

Do you have excess water? Consider trading your water.