Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse

The River Murray is critical to South Australia’s communities, industries, unique environment and way of life. The Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse is in place to manage and protect the river for all water users, and make sure that water use is sustainable.

The water allocation plan covers the River Murray downstream from the Victorian border and includes Lakes Alexandrina and Albert, part of Currency Creek, and the Finniss, Angas and Bremer Rivers. See the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse map.

Changes have been made to the water allocation plan so it will be compliant with Basin Plan requirements and to ensure that policies in the water allocation plan will effectively manage issues impacting on the river, like salinity.

The water allocation plan:

  • shares available water amongst all water users, including the environment, now and into the future
  • provides greater transparency for water users, especially about how water will be allocated.

How was the water allocation plan developed?

The water allocation plan was developed by the South Australian Murray-Darling Natural Resources Management (SAMDB NRM) Board and the community-based River Murray Advisory Committee (RMAC), in collaboration with key stakeholders and the Department for Environment and Water.

RMAC assists the SAMDB NRM Board with water policy development, and has representation from business, agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, tourism, environmental conservation and Aboriginal nations.

The Board worked with other key stakeholders on a number of policies, and public consultation on a draft water allocation plan was undertaken between July and September 2018. Comments received from key stakeholders and the community helped to finalise the plan. A consultation and alterations report can be viewed here. Copies of submissions can be viewed here.

What do I need to know about the rules in the water allocation plan?

The water allocation plan sets out the rules for taking and using water to make sure that use is sustainable and to protect the water resource for current and future users. If you are a water user, it is important that you know about the rules in the water allocation plan.

There are a number of differences in the new water allocation plan that all licence holders should be aware of. These are outlined in the fact sheet Adoption of the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse .

Fact sheets that explain the policies in the water allocation plan are available and include:

Where can I find out more?

Find out more about:

How does this affect my existing licence and approvals?

Your existing water rights remain the same. The adoption of the water allocation plan does not affect your ability to use or trade water.

After 1 July 2019, your water management authorisations may be reissued to make sure they are consistent with the water allocation plan. We will contact you if this is the case.

Until then, your existing approvals remain in place.

Information about the 2019-20 water use year

The Murray-Darling Basin is currently facing dry conditions and this could affect allocations during the 2019-20 water use year. The Department for Environment and Water will be providing regular updates on conditions and allocation announcements. Keep up to date here.

Arrangements are in place to help South Australia prepare for an extended dry period, including storage of water for critical human water needs and private carryover purposes, and activation of the policy for use of the Adelaide Desalination Plant in dry times.. Tools such as flow reports and allocation probability scenarios will be provided to keep water users informed.

To find out more and to access tools to help prepare for the year ahead, please visit the DEW website here.

Basin Plan and Water Resource Plans

The water allocation plan will form part of the South Australian River Murray Water Resource Plan. Water resource plans are required to be prepared under the Basin Plan to show how we are sustainably managing the River Murray.

The water resource plan is a road map of our water management plans, policies and activities.

The new changes to the water allocation plan improve on our existing management arrangements and help to meet water resource planning standards.

These changes do not alter how people currently take and use water for business. Water user’s obligations are met by complying with the water allocation plan.

The Department for Environment and Water is preparing the South Australian River Murray Water Resource Plan. To find out more visit their website.

More information

To find out more about how the rules in the water allocation plan apply to you:

Printed copies of the water allocation plan are available for viewing at natural resources centres and local council libraries in the SA Murray-Darling Basin region.

To talk through any of the policies in the water allocation plan, please contact the Senior Project Officer, River Murray Water Allocation Plan on (08) 8463 6877 or email rmwap.feedback@sa.gov.au.

For more information about licensing, metering, or well permits please contact us on (08) 8595 2053.

 

 

More information