Irrigation loophole: South Australia’s leaky water regulations

6 June 2018

Peter Hunt, The Weekly Times
6 June 2018

SOUTH Australian irrigators are exploiting a loophole in the state’s regulations, to borrow water destined for the environment and not repay it until the end of the season.

“They’re using water they don’t have,” one leading water broker said.

South Austrailan Government rules allow irrigators to overuse water at the peak of the season, when prices are high, then repay it at the end of the season when prices traditionally fall.

Victorian water corporations have banned the practice, with Goulburn Murray Water refusing to deliver to irrigators’ accounts if they have been fully drained. Lower Murray Water has a similar policy, given it automatically reads all meters and demands repayment of any overuse within 30 days.

But SA Water lets irrigators use more than they hold in their water accounts, as long as they go on to the Victorian and NSW markets to replace it within about four months.

Read full article here.