Irrigators in SA look forward to full water allocation

Posted 21 March 2017

VineyardThanks to last spring’s record inflows, South Australia’s River Murray irrigators will receive a 100% water allocation in the coming year.

The 2017-18 opening allocation for water access entitlement holders is in stark contrast to last year, when just 36% was made available

State Water and the River Murray Minister Ian Hunter said that although the announcement was good news, irrigators needed to remain vigilant. 

“I am pleased that the opening allocation is a full 100% of our entitlement flow, as this will give our water users some certainty in making their decisions for 2017-18,” he said. 

“But as widely known, the wettest months can quickly revert to drier times.

“Water users should be aware that some climate models are forecasting potentially dry conditions in 2017, which could affect water availability in 2018-19.”

Private carryover will not be made available and granted in 2017-18, as it’s better to keep that on the back burner in case of future dry conditions, said the minister.

SA Riverland wine grape grower Jack Papageorgiou told the ABC the turnaround came after a difficult time. 

"When we heard the 36% we were alarmed and very concerned, because we thought we were going back again to 10 years ago when we were under water restrictions," he said.

"We were really confident that the allocation would gradually go up."

In October 2016, the total River Murray System inflow (approximately 3990GL) was nearly three times the October long-term average.

Inflow to Menindee Lakes that month was approximately 500GL, which was also nearly three times the long-term October average.

The 100% opening water allocation means South Australia is expected to receive its full state entitlement flow of 1850GL.