SA, Water, water markets

SA Desal Drought Funding

8 November 2019

Thursday 8 November

Thursday 8 November saw many big announcements from the Federal Government regarding drought funding. The biggest affecting the irrigation community being the announcement that the Commonwealth will pay the SA Government $98M to turn on its desalination plant.

The fresh water created by the desal plant will be used to supply Adelaide with potable water and therefore reduce it’s 100GL of demand from the Murray River. This “saving” will then be provided to irrigators “below market rates” to grow fodder through a “subscription scheme”.

Little detail was known about how irrigators could access the water, how much it would cost, whether it was only to grow fodder for your own livestock and exactly how it would be implemented and managed. Even NFF Fiona Simson didn’t know the detail.

Naturally this announcement will have implications for the water market – it is consequential to all water users, not just those growing fodder. As a result, the market needs details quickly. How will the water be distributed? How will water use be monitored? In which systems will the water be made available?

Until we see more detail – surely they can publish some basic details – market participants can only theorise about what they should do.

Tuesday 12 November

Sussan Ley was on ABC Radio putting some clarity around the 100GL. According to the radio interview;

  • Volume will be a minimum of 25ML and a maximum of 100ML
  • Guidelines should be published by the end of this week
  • Water will be distributed through an Expression Of Interest