Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
Update prepared: 14 March 2013
The Murray River, South Australia
© SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
This portfolio management statement outlines the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office's (CEWO) current approach to the use, carryover and trade of Commonwealth environmental water in the Lower Murray river valley for the remainder of the 2012-13 water year. The Lower Murray river valley is defined in this statement as the Lower Darling River system from Menindee Lakes to its junction with the Murray River at Wentworth, and the Lower Murray River system from Wentworth to the Murray Mouth.
This statement will continue to be updated as the approach to portfolio management is adjusted in response to actual seasonal conditions. The next routine update is anticipated around June/July 2013, however further updates may be released in response to a significant change in circumstances.
Recent Water Availability: Water availability in the Lower Murray is high. Allocations to Lower Darling General Security licences and South Australian entitlements are at 100%. Current capacity in key storages is approximately: Menindee Lakes 53%; Lake Victoria 35%; Hume Dam 54%; and Dartmouth Dam 94%.
|Entitlement type||Entitlement Held (GL)||Carryover from 2011-12 (GL)2||New Allocations in 2012-13 (GL)||Allocation transferred for delivery in 2012-13 (GL)||Current Commonwealth allocations (GL)||Anticipated carryover to 2013-14(GL)|
|Lower Darling (General Security)||0.5||0.0||0.5||0.5||0.0||0.0|
|South Australia (High
|Total – Lower Murray River Valley||104.8||0.0||99.4||99.4||0.0||0.0|
|Total – Southern Connected Basin3||1,077.5||232.1||917.4-937.7||721.6||445.7-465.9||0.0-250.0|
- Slight discrepancies may exist due to rounding.
- There was no carryover permitted in South Australia from 2011-12 and 50% permitted in the Lower Darling.
- Southern Connected Basin includes the following hydrologically connected catchments: Goulburn, Campaspe, Loddon, Murray (SA, Vic and NSW), Lower Darling and Murrumbidgee.
Commonwealth environmental water availablity and use in 2012-13 (up to 28 February 2013)
CEWO entitlements within the Lower Murray have received 99 GL of new allocations in 2012-13.
Commonwealth environmental water holdings are managed on a system-wide basis and available water may be transferred between catchments in the Southern Connected Basin to meet environmental needs. Environmental watering within the Lower Murray has used around 87 GL of allocation from entitlements located within the Lower Murray and 300 GL from entitlements located elsewhere in the Southern Connected Basin. Environmental watering has been conducted to support ecosystem function within the Murray River channel; encourage spawning and recruitment opportunities for native fish; and contribute to outcomes in the Lower Lakes and Coorong.
Anticipated water availability and use in remainder of in 2012-13 (post February 2013)
Environmental watering to-date has essentially exhausted allocations to Commonwealth entitlements within the Lower Murray and new allocations are not anticipated for the remainder of 2012-13. However, at least 446 GL of Commonwealth environmental water is held elsewhere in the Southern Connected Basin and can contribute to meeting environmental objectives in the Lower Murray, subject to trading rules.
A further 12 GL of allocation from the Lower Murray is committed to being used in the environmental watering action currently underway in the Lower Murray. A proposal is under consideration for the delivery of up to 150 GL of allocations in the Lower Murray from Mid-Murray entitlements from March to May to achieve environmental objectives within the Coorong. Up to 158 GL of environmental watering in the northern Victorian Rivers will contribute to downstream environmental watering objectives in the Lower Murray via return flows.
Additional information on environmental water use in the Southern Connected Basin is available at Southern catchments.
Trade in 2012-13
The Commonwealth Water Act 2007 provides for the trade of Commonwealth environmental water (allocations and entitlements) and specifies the conditions under which sales may occur. No Commonwealth environmental water has been traded this year in the Lower Murray. The volume and price of allocation traded by other water users throughout the Southern Connected Basin has trended up across the water year, with the total value of trade reaching a peak in January.
CEWO is not intending to trade allocations or permanent entitlement in the Lower Murray over the remainder of 2012-13. Further, CEWO does not intend to trade anywhere until it has addressed matters arising from the making of the Basin Plan and issues that were raised in recent consultation with industry groups. These include implementing protocols to address concerns about the potential for insider trading.
All intentions are largely unchanged from those expressed in the Statement released in December 2012 and further information would be made widely available should they change.
Carryover of Commonwealth environmental water into 2013-14
Based on currently available water and anticipated use, and taking into account State rules on transferring water, CEWO estimates that it will carryover up to 250 GL in the Southern Connected Basin, all of which will be in accounts held outside of the Lower Murray. The quantity actually carried over will largely depend on the volume of environmental watering that occurs in the remainder of 2012-13, which is subject to seasonal and operational considerations.
Carryover can be used to implement environmental water options from early 2013-14. Further information about carryover of Commonwealth environmental water can be found here: Information on carryover.
Proportion of Lower Murray irrigation entitlements held by Commonwealth (by total long-term average annual yield)
Carryover of Commonwealth environmental water in the Lower Murray as a proportion of major storage capacity