Water Week

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Armageddon divvy-up for 2008-09: South East Australia emergency water plans

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The May Armageddon plan agreed by Ministers was now in full swing. The details of the plan appear in the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, May 2007. Matters to be considered in establishing a reserve for 2008-09 include;

• whether there should be a system wide reserve or reserves built up by individuals and towns;

• at what magnitude allocations should be before water starts to be allocated to reserves;

• the timing of a reserve to ensure critical water supplies can be delivered in 2008-09, and

• the issue of carryover and how it will be treated in the reserve.

State water sharing agreements: Assuming that

• 333 GL of water is required to meet losses in South Australia and
• 695 GL to meet losses upstream of the South Australian border during the 2007-08
season, the Senior Officials’ Group recommends that First Ministers:

1. NOTE that, on 25 May 2007, the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council directed the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, from water presently
available to the Commission, to;

•  allocate 141 GL for South Australia (noting that First Ministers have agreed that this will require 487 GL as a cross-border flow, subject to salinity issues that may emerge),
•  75 GL for New South Wales; and
•  53 GL for Victoria, to allow each state to supply critical human needs (a total allocation of 269 GL) in the 2007-08 season;

2. AGREE that any improvements in water available in the system should thereafter be allocated sequentially as follows, during the 2007-08 season:

•  (a) the next 492 GL of improvements be allocated proportionally such that:

• 120 GL be allocated to each of New South Wales, Victoria, dilution flows and losses in South Australia and to South Australian diversions; and

• 12 GL made available for River Murray Improved Flows (a total allocation of 761 GL);

(b) of the next 739 GL of improvements, 25 per cent should be allocated to dilution flows and losses in South Australia. The remaining 75 per cent should be allocated to New South Wales, Victoria and to South Australian diversions in such a way that most rapidly allows the usual water-sharing arrangements under Part X of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement to resume, without reducing the volumes already allocated to any State for diversion (a total allocation of 1500 GL);
(c) the next 700 GL should initially be allocated in accordance with the
usual water-sharing arrangements under Part X of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, subject to the requirements that:

(i) the volumes already allocated to any State for diversion must not be reduced; and
(ii) 50 per cent of the sum of the additional volumes which would be allocated to New South Wales and Victoria according to those usual water-sharing arrangements must instead be allocated to South Australia (a total allocation of 2200 GL):
(d) once total improvements in available water of 1931 GL have been allocated in accordance with paragraphs (a) to (c), any further improvement in available water should be allocated in such a way that most rapidly allows the usual water-sharing arrangements under Part X of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement to resume, without reducing the volumes already allocated to any State for diversion; and
(e) once it is possible for the usual water-sharing arrangements under
Part X of the Agreement to resume (after about a total of 2670 GL has been allocated) those arrangements should continue to apply.

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