SA irrigators to get full entitlement
South Australian irrigators along the Murray are set to receive 100 per cent of their water entitlements for the first time since drought conditions severely restricted allocations in 2002.
The South Australian Government backed the decision, saying that the move allowed the agriculture industry to invest with confidence after record rainfalls deluged the area between December 2010 and February this year.
The decision comes after the Murray Darling Basin Authority downgraded its minimal environmental flow requirements to 2,800, significantly below initial estimates of between 3,000 and 4,000.
River Murray Minister Paul Caica confirmed that the full entitlement of in 2011-2012 will be allocated, thereby lifting the restriction to 67 per cent.
"The Murray Darling Basing Authority has now confirmed that South Australia will again receive its full River Murray Entitlement Flow of 1850 gigalitres in 2011-12 which means irrigators can have 100 per cent allocation," Mr Caica said.
However, there have been no guarantees of full entitlement continuing beyond 2012.
"As a result, temporary carryover arrangements that were provided as an annual contingency during the drought will cease on June 30, however, the State Government is currently consulting with the key stakeholders with a view to establishing a new long-term carryover policy for all licensed water entitlements in time for the 2012 / 13 water year,'' Mr Caica said