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Fees, charges and penalties

What are the ongoing costs of owning water licences and water access entitlement shares? 

A Landscape Water Levy is payable by holders of some River Murray water access entitlement shares and non-Murray water licences under Section 76 of the Landscape South Australia Act 2019. The levy is based on the number of shares that are held on 1 July each year, and is a minimum of $200. Levies are invoiced in July each year.

Levy rates are published in the South Australian Government Gazette prior to the commencement of each new water year, usually toward the end of June. The June 2020 Gazette notice regarding water levies for 2020-21 is here (pages 3621-3625).

Penalties for unauthorised take and use of water

We recognise that most water users do the right thing by monitoring and managing their water use responsibly, supporting the sustainable use of our state’s water resources.

Unfortunately, some water users take more water than they have been allocated. This behaviour reduces the security of supply for all other users.

If there is evidence of the taking water without an allocation or taking water in excess of available allocation then a penalty will be issued. 

Penalty rates are calculated with consideration for the level of risk that water theft poses to a particular resource and the value of water. These rates vary by prescribed area and for severity of overuse and act to deter and penalise excess water use.

Penalty rates are published in the first half of the accounting period. In prescribed areas where annual penalties apply (i.e. areas other than the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse where quarterly penalties apply – further information below), the accounting period is from 1 July to 30 June.

Penalty rates for the previous water year (excess use in the 2018-19 year) can be found here  (page 4423-4425). 

Penalty rates for the current water year (excess use in the 2019-20 year) have now been declared and can be found here (page 4346 - 4347).  

Quarterly penalties for the River Murray watercourse

For the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse, a quarterly accounting period now applies. The penalty rates are published for each quarter in the first half of the relevant accounting period. Accordingly, the penalty rates for each quarter of the 2019-20 water use year have now been published.

The quarterly accounting periods and a link to the published penalty rates that apply to the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse are as follows: 

Quarter 1 accounting period 1 July to 30 September Quarter 1 penalty rate (see pages 2822 - 2823)
Quarter 2 accounting period 1 October to 31 December Quarter 2 penalty rates (see page 3860)
Quarter 3 accounting period 1 January to 31 March  Quarter 3 penalty rates (see page 327)
Quarter 4 accounting period 1 April to 30 June  Quarter 4 penalty rates (see page 984)

This means that a penalty will apply to water taken in excess of available allocation at the end of each quarter.

What is the penalty for taking water above or without an available allocation?

Penalty rates have now been published for the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 water year. The fourth quarter commenced on 1 April 2020 and will conclude on 30 June 2020. 

Penalty rates are calculated based on the market value of a particular resource and take into account the risk to the resource if water theft occurs.

The penalty rates for the River Murray have decreased this quarter. This reflects the decreasing trend of the River Murray water market. If your water account is not equal to or less than your available annual allocation at the end of the current period, you will incur a penalty charge. If you take water during the quarterly accounting period, without any allocation, you will incur the penalty for unlawful taking or use of water, as shown in the table below. 

Accounting Period for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse

Penalty for overuse

Penalty for unlawful taking or use of water

For first 10 per cent

Above 10 per cent and up to and including 25 per cent

Above 25 per cent

1 April to 30 June 2020

$1.41/kL

$3.29/kL

$5.64/kL

$7.99/kL

These penalty rates were declared in the Gazette on 14 May 2020 (page 984) available here

Further detail and frequently asked questions are provided in the SA River Murray quarterly water account requirements and penalties factsheet.

Current application fees

Fees for standard applications relating to water licences, water access entitlement transfers, water allocation transfers, water resource works approvals, site use approvals and notations of interest are: 

1

Application for a water licence

$254.00

2

Application to transfer a water licence

$471.00 plus a technical assessment fee of $317.00

3

Application to transfer a water allocation or a quantity of water which is taken to constitute a water access entitlement, other than in relation to an unbundled prescribed water resource

$471.00 plus a technical assessment fee of $317.00

4

In relation to an unbundled prescribed water resource—

 

(a) application to transfer a water access entitlement

$471.00

(b) application to vary a water allocation

$277.00

(c) application to transfer a water allocation

$277.00

(d) application for a water resource works approval

$471.00

(e) application to vary a water resource works approval

$471.00

 

(f) application for a site use approval

$471.00 plus a technical assessment fee of $317.00

 

(g) application to vary a site use approval

$471.00 plus a technical assessment fee of $317.00

5

Application to vary a licence for any other reason

$471.00 plus a technical assessment fee of $317.00

6

Application for notation on Landscape Scheme Register or for the removal of a notation (e.g. to register a security interest)

$9.80

Source: Schedule 1 of the Landscape South Australia (Fees) Notice 2020 (pages 3614-3617). Also see this link for additional fees in relation to applications for: permits and licences relating to wells; other general permits; tagged interstate water trades, and; forest water licences. 

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