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SAMI Outcomes 2012

Irrigation Industry Murray-Darling Basin Plan Response

During one of the worst droughts in Australia’s history known as the Millennium Drought (1997 – 2009) water for irrigation purposes was considered by many as a luxury that the Murray River, the environment & people in communities could not afford. Rivers were dying. Irrigators in all States had allocations under Water Access Entitlements reduced & under the new Commonwealth Government Murray-Darling Basin Plan, were required to use less water to allow for increased environmental flows into the Murray-Darling River System. Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDL) & water return targets were set by the Commonwealth Government for each State. A battle between States & various interest groups ensued & the risk to South Australia’s irrigating industries was extreme. SAMI played an extremely important role representing members during this period. It was part of a national committee of irrigation industry bodies that joined to protect the interests of irrigators under the proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The committee developed & worked with the State Government to put forward a case to the Commonwealth Government for a program which would help South Australia’s irrigating industries to remain viable, productive irrigation enterprises during this period of extreme drought whilst still meeting the State’s water return targets. This was the early stages of formation of what is now known as SARMS 3IP or the South Australian River Murray Sustainability Program. In 2013, The South Australian Government signed an agreement with the Commonwealth Government for $265 million to develop a program which would return 40 gigalitres of water for the environment by funding irrigators to make changes that would reduce water use, thereby relinquishing no longer required water access entitlements to the Commonwealth Government. SARMS 3IP is due to conclude in 2019.


Submission to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on Commonwealth Environmental Water-Trading Arrangements

  • Represented irrigators on the House of Representatives – inquiry into certain matters relating to the proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

  • Represented Irrigators views in the Dry Allocation Framework keeping our sacrifices noted and factored into Dry Allocation Frameworks.

  • Loxton Research Centre Management Reference Group – Building Redevelopment and Innovation Centre

  • Water Industry Alliance collaboration on alternative water buyback options – South AustralianRiver Murray Improvements Programme

  • Links with Primary Producers SA to assist with the NRM Act review.

  • Assisted the Meningie and Narrung Lakes Irrigators Association to successfully get the Lake Albert scoping study commissioned.

  • Lobbies successfully with others to have the Lake Albers causeway removed and Narrung Narrows rehabilitation.

  • Hosted the Native Fish Strategy - Adrien Wells to discuss environmental flows and native fish requirements in regulated waters.

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