Dramatic turnaround for Murray water allocations

South Australian River Murray irrigators will get a third increase in water allocations, as entitlements are raised from 89 to 100 per cent following a dramatic climate shift.

The increase comes after April 2016 River Murray inflows, which were near the lowest on record, were followed by the highest inflows for 20 years in July 2016.

This turnaround has provided significant inflows into the Murray-Darling Basin Authority controlled storages.

Opening allocations for River Murray water users in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia were affected by low inflows in 2015-16 after below average rainfall and resulting dry catchments.

On 30 June 2016, SA Water and the River Murray Minister Ian Hunter announced that opening allocations for the majority of water users would be 36 per cent, and that there would be access to private carryover.

Thanks to wetter conditions, during July 2016 Mr Hunter announced improvements to water allocations from 56 per cent to 89 per cent, and now to 100 per cent.

Mr Hunter said, “The State Government has been keeping a close eye on SA’s water availability and has delivered on its commitment to provide early information and updates for the community.

“Today’s 100 per cent allocation is great news given the situation back in April, when water resource availability was severely constrained.

The volume of water held in Hume and Dartmouth Reservoirs has seen an increase of over 2,200 million litres since mid-May 2016.

Mr Hunter said, “The current positive outlook is being closely monitored in order to seize favourable conditions to improve the condition of the River Murray and its environments.

“Increased water has helped to move salt from the Lower Lakes, scour the Murray Mouth and improve water quality in the Coorong.”

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