The South Australian Government is taking a new approach to salinity management, making it easier for irrigators along the River Murray to get site use approvals for new irrigation development and to convert to higher water use crops.

This will be done whilst maintaining river salinity at levels suitable for agriculture, the environment and human water supplies.

There are no changes to existing site use approvals and conditions. Existing irrigators can continue to use water to the maximum volume defined on their site use approval.

Analysis undertaken as part of the review identified that there is capacity for approximately 14,200 hectares of new irrigation development.

Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter, said based on valuable feedback from the community, the State Government has updated its River Murray Salinity Zoning policy to better support irrigation development.

“The new approach shows this government’s commitment to regional development and to supporting the production of world class food, wine and beverages that come from a healthy environment.

“The policy changes are a win-win − they support regional productivity while also ensuring good water quality for agriculture, the environment and water supplies for up to 90 per cent of the state’s population.”

These changes follow an update in 2017 to the water allocation policy giving River Murray irrigators increased allocations in dry years by factoring in the Adelaide Desalination Plant.

Information about the new River Murray Salinity Zoning policy is available at www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin. 

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