Rain falls for struggling irrigators
Recent rain has seen water allocations boosted from 36 per cent to 52 per cent for South Australia's River Murray irrigators.
It is a big increase from two weeks ago, when the allowances were cut to just a third of the irrigators’ regular entitlements.
SA River Murray Minister Ian Hunter this week announced an additional 16 per cent of allocations would be made available following rainfall across the Upper River Murray catchment and north-eastern Victoria.
Renmark Irrigation Trust spokesperson Peter Duggin is “ecstatic”.
“We know there has been a lot of rain of late, but I wouldn't imagine all of that's been recorded and officially passed through,” he told reporters.
“So given [South Australian water is] usually a month behind the real weather, to get 52 per cent now is absolutely fantastic.”
The allocations are expected to carry some Riverland irrigators until mid-summer.
“It gives them certainty and it also gives them the ability to sit back, rethink and do some budgets and buy water as and when they need it, rather than become price-takers in a market,” he said.
Mr Hunter said allocations could even be increased further.
“There's been rainfall across the eastern states in the right areas and now it's gone into storage and now that's been made fully available to irrigators,” he said.
“The weather outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology shows reasonable prospects for improved rainfall from now until September, and, given that catchments are already wet, the expectation is for increased run-off into storage.”
Liberal Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone welcomed the water allocation update, saying it is a sign things are “moving in the right direction”.
But he still wants more transparency and information from the State Government for farmers.
“It's good news for irrigators [but] we're still to see the scenarios or the information that lays over the top of that announcement,” Mr Whetstone said.
“What is the trigger point for irrigators to get 100 per cent? What are the numbers and the projections? That's what I'm wanting and irrigators are wanting.”