Water Week

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South Australia faces worst-case scenario: Murray irrigators told from 1 October, allocations increased from zero to 16 per cent if total Murray flows, above 1 500 gigalitres

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

The Minister for Water Security, House of Assembly, for South Australia, on 11 September 2007 said the predicted flow into South Australia under a range of scenarios was “the worst-case scenario: (a repeat of last year) where we will receive only around 800 to 900 gigalitres; under very dry conditions, which we would expect to exceed in nine out of 10 years, that is around 1 250; and, under average conditions (and there is only a 50:50 chance that this could occur), we might receive somewhere in the vicinity of 1 300 to 1 370 gigalitres”.

Only 913 gigalitres between three states: Kay Maywald (Minister for the River Murray) said the Murray-Darling Basin Commission had advised that, based on the end of August inflows, the volume available for states – above critical human needs was 913 gigalitres. This was revised up to 1 217 gigalitres on 4 September.

Emergency water-sharing plan: “On the basis of the drought water-sharing rules agreed by first ministers, the resources available to each of the states as at the end of August include:

South Australia for diversion, 120 gigalitres.“We set our diversion rate for 1 September based on an anticipated 102; we actually achieved at extra 18 gigalitres, which we have now applied to increasing allocations from 13 to 16. This year, South Australia will also receive 225 gigalitres of dilution flows at this stage. That is what we have in the bank, and we hope that it will be added to as more flows into the system;

New South Wales 120 gigalitres available for diversion; and

Victoria 435 gigalitres for diversion A small amount of 13 gigalitres has been set aside for the environment.

Water for irrigation if flows exceed 1 500 gigalitres:  Maywald, said River Murray irrigators that from 1 October licence holders will have their allocations increased to 16 per cent. This is early advice to assist them with their planning. That water is currently in the bank and now available to us to allocate as a consequence of the end of August data assessment. However, for us to improve that for 1 October, we have to see total inflows into the River Murray system exceed 1 500 gigalitres. That is an important figure for South Australian irrigators, because we cannot increase our allocations to South Australian River Murray irrigators until we have exceeded that 1 500 gigalitre target”.
Reference: Hon. K.A. Maywald, Minister for Water Security, House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007

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