the future of agriculture & horticulture in SA

Unless South Australia has a a guaranteed environmental flow of water from the MurrayDarling Basin there will be little future for agriculture and horticulture in SA.

Engineering solutions are proving to be very costly.  A buyback of water would bebetter for the environment and give more certainty to irrigators.




9 Responses to “the future of agriculture & horticulture in SA”

  1. Grant Says:

    Hi Anne

    Great Comment

  2. Michelle Says:

    Hi Anneltest

    What about rainfall?

  3. Grant Says:

    Hi Anne

    Great Comment,


  4. mseyfang Says:

    I agree. The MDBC has proved to be a toothless tiger. We need more power to an independent authority to regulate water allocations.

  5. Grant Schroeder Says:

    Hi Anne

    What exactly is a buyback.
    ps, hope you have a good weekend.

  6. Response to Anne on water allocations « LitFuse Says:

    […] to Anne on water allocations  Anne, you might be interested in the blog and podcast of Peter Cullen at the Schultz Oration late last […]

  7. Michelle Says:

    Hi Anne

    Do you think the other states will agree to give SA a guaranteed environmental flow of water?

  8. testleroy Says:

    Hi Anne
    Pardon my ignorance, but could you explain what the term “Buyback” really mens?

    Thanks, Grant

  9. Paul Says:

    Buyback means the government buys water allocations off farmers. In the past, the right to take water out of a river was a right linked to the land title under common law. In the 1990’s, the governments in the Murray Darlin Basin agreed to separate the water right from the land title, so that people could buy and sell the right to take water from the river. The volume of water you were allowed to extract was called a “water allocation”. These allocations were given by state governments, and should have been based on good scientific information about what was a “sustainable” level of extraction of water from the river. Unfortunately, in NSW in particular, water alocations were given out as political favours, to help secure marginal seats in rural areas. As a result, collectively farmers are able to extract more water from the River Murray than the river has water to give. In a period of drought, all of the expensive water storages that were put in place to ensure water security for irrigators were run down to empty. Now the River is essentially dry and irrigators have lost their security of supply. Many businesses in the Riverland will shut down this year because the government has had to cut their water allocation to 32% – that is, they can only use a third of the water on their license.

    Many scientists now believe that there has been a climate shift in Australia and that we are unlikely to return to the high rainfall levels of the late half of the 20th Century. Given that we had already over allocated the water resource, this means that the River is likely to be in almost permanent drought. To fix this really important issue, some people are suggesting that we “Buy back” the water allocations from farmers and put that water back into the River. In fact, we may have to buy a lot of entitlements before we even begin to put water back into the river, because of the extent of overallocation. We will be essentially buying back allocations we should never have given for water that doesn;t exist.

    This is a pretty horrible situation we have got ourselves into and is a complete failure of the Murray Darling Basin Commission process. Currently the rules of the Commission are that if one state over-allocates water, their punishment is that their discretion is noted in the minutes of the Commission’s meetings. Terrifying!

    John Howards $10B would not have fixed this problem. It is going to take some incredibly strong political courage to take on the irrigator lobby and NSW government to buy back water allocations to the extent required. There will be some pretty nasty consequences for towns and individual businesses in parts of NSW in particular.

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