SA allocations coming
South Australia’s irrigators will soon learn their minimum opening water allocations, after months of frustration.
An announcement is now expected by the end of this month, providing some certainty to the irrigation community that has been desperate for updates.
They are waiting on the details of looming water restrictions linked to low rainfall.
Water Minister Ian Hunter says the announcement on minimum opening allocations will come by April 30.
He says eligible private irrigators will be allowed to carry over their unused water into the new year, while also retaining any water purchased from interstate.
Renmark Irrigation Trust presiding member Peter Duggin says irrigators do not expect much.
“Although we don't know the number, it should be pretty clear to everybody that the allocation scenario for next year is not going to be too flash,” he told ABC reporters.
“If I was going to give generalised advice to anybody, it would be to sit down and do your sums and think about next year.”
“You've got to decide whether you can seriously afford to lease water in.
“You've got to decide whether you wish to be a wine grape grower into the future … [and] you've got to decide a whole lot of things about your future that may start as a result of July 1.”
He said the State Government was beginning to improve is communication with irrigators..
“There could still be improvements, but it may well be a case of; ‘Watch this space’,” he said.
“I believe the Government is looking rather positively at some of the things we think would help, and certainly it may just boil down to the timing of announcements and the Government's ability to do the things we're suggesting.”
SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources chief Tim Goodes warned that the minimum opening allocation should be seen as the worst-case scenario for irrigators.
“There's no chance that it would be lower,” Mr Goodes said.
“If forecast conditions improve, then the actual opening allocation [on July 1] might be higher.
“There's been a very clear message from irrigators that it's better to be conservative and be able to move up, than to play a game whereby we make an announcement and realise we've over-allocated the system and have to wind it back.”