Water allocations rise for SA Murray irrigators

The water allocations for most South Australian Murray River irrigators have been increased from 36 per cent to 52 per cent after recent rainfall improved water availability.

The announcement comes two weeks after irrigators were told their opening allocation for the 2016-17 water year would be 36 per cent and that private carryover would be available for eligible water access entitlement holders.

Opening water allocations for all River Murray water users across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia had been affected by low inflows in 2015-16 due to below average rainfall and resulting dry catchments.

However, recent rainfall across the Upper River Murray catchment and across north eastern Victoria has improved inflows into storages and subsequently enhanced water resource availability to South Australia.

SA Minister for Water and the River Murray Ian Hunter said the weather outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology showed there were reasonable prospects for improved rainfall from July to September 2016.

Mr Hunter said that as the catchments were already wet, the expectation was for increased run off into storage.

“This means there is an increasing likelihood that allocations will improve further in the coming months,” Mr Hunter said.

“Water resource availability will continue to be closely monitored by DEWNR and water allocation updates will be provided through the River Murray Flow Report. This will help water users to track improvements and make business decisions.”

Water released from the Snowy Hydro Scheme has also helped improve water availability to the state.

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