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Consultation open - Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse - draft plan - Circular 2.8

To Chief Executive Officer
Economic Development and Tourism Staff
Elected Members
Environment Staff
Governance Officers
Policy and Strategic Planning Staff
Sustainability Officers
Date 9 January 2020
Contact Lea Bacon
Response Required Yes Respond By 10 March 2020
Summary The SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board has released a draft Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse for public consultation. This Circular provides further details on opportunities for affected councils to provide feedback, including information sessions.

The 2019 River Murray water allocation plan incorporated an updated private carryover policy as a drought management measure. Extensive consultation was undertaken to develop the water allocation plan, which was adopted on 28 February 2019.
The private carryover policy came into effect in the 2019-20 water use year and the Board has heard that amendments could be made to improve its effectiveness.
Changes are proposed to the policy so that carryover can be rolled over from one year to the next in a series of dry years, instead of being lost if allocations reach 100 per cent. 
Any policy change needs to consider implications for compliance with South Australia’s sustainable diversion limit which is a requirement of the Basin Plan. 
The Board is seeking community views on the changes proposed within the draft River Murray water allocation plan.
Consultation is underway now to ensure that feedback can be considered and any proposed changes approved before mid-April 2020, when the first projected minimum opening allocation announcement is due to be made.
Department for Environment and Water staff are available to meet with you to talk through the changes to the River Murray water allocation plan and the implications for your communities. If you would like to arrange a meeting, please contact Peta Brettig, Advisor, on 0456 956 838 or
Copies of the draft River Murray water allocation plan and supplementary material is available from Natural Resources Centres at Berri and Murray Bridge, and online at

Information sessions 
During the consultation process, the Board will be holding information sessions so that communities along the river can find out more about the draft River Murray water allocation plan and the changes proposed. You are welcome to attend one of these sessions. The information sessions will be held at the following locations:

  • Tuesday 4 February 2020, 11.00am – 1.00pm, Loxton Research Centre, Bookpurnong Road, Loxton 
  • Thursday 6 February 2020, 11.00am – 1.00pm, Murray Bridge Golf Club, 1 Ritter Road, Murray Bridge

A presentation will be provided at the start of the session, with time after the presentation for questions and discussions with staff. 
Light snacks, tea and coffee will be provided from 12.30pm.
Separate information sessions are planned for March/April 2020 to discuss water resource availability and the water outlook for the 2020-21 water use year.
Providing feedback
All comments received through the consultation process will be considered when finalising the plan and all comments will be made publicly available unless the respondent requests that their feedback is kept confidential. 
Written submissions can be sent to:
Rebecca Freshwater Senior Project Officer, River Murray Water Allocation Plan Natural Resources, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin GPO Box 1047 ADELAIDE SA 5001
Phone: 08 8463 6877
The closing date for written submissions is 5pm Tuesday 10 March 2020.

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