Opening water allocations lifted

Opening water allocations lifted

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Recent rain across key catchment areas of the Murray-Darling Basin have prompted a lift in SA River Murray opening water allocations - albeit only a small rise.

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SA River Murray opening water allocations have been lifted slightly to 26 per cent, up from the 22pc forecast in the middle of last month.

Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said the latest rise in the allocation figure was good news for local water entitlement holders.

"These continuing improvements are a positive sign for South Australian River Murray water users as we remain hopeful for further rises as the main in-flow season progresses," Mr Speirs said.

"It's vital we manage our water responsibly to achieve long-lasting benefits for the River Murray and water users, including primary producers, industry, recreational users and the environment."

After two years of low rainfall and inflows across the Basin, the volume of water in Murray-Darling Basin Authority-controlled storages is at about 35pc of capacity and increasing.

We continue to remain hopeful that we'll see reasonable improvements. - JARROD EATON

Department of Environment and Water River Murray water operations manager Jarrod Eaton said the opening allocation was set based on the latest advice from the MDBA.

"Recent rainfall across key catchment areas in the southern Murray-Darling Basin has been a positive sign," Mr Eaton said.

"However, the Bureau of Meteorology's long-term weather outlook indicates that drier and warmer than average conditions are likely over the next three months.

"Given that most inflows to the River Murray system historically occur between July and November, we will be monitoring the resource condition extremely closely.

"We continue to remain hopeful that we'll see reasonable improvements over the coming months to further improve allocations."

In April, the government released its first water allocation indications, with irrigators warned opening allocations could be as low as 14pc. The information was shared earlier than in previous years as part of the state government's election promise to provide more timely and accurate information on water allocations.

Based on climate data from the past 30 years, there is considered to be a 90pc likelihood that allocations will reach at least 85pc in 2019-20.

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