Representatives from Summerfruits Citrus, Almonds and Winegrapes gathered in an upper room at Renmark Hotel on Wednesday evening this week to continue learning about managing water assets. A dry topic at the best of times, believe it or not, water is perhaps the most volatile of our portfolio of primary producers’ (PPs) assets. Without it we are nothing and without PP’s, the Riverland is nothing; yet we either take it for granted that it will be there when we need it, or we trust that someone else will take good care of it on our behalf! That’s naïve. It’s been a separate asset, a commodity in fact, since 2009 when it was separated from the land to which it had always belonged and put on the market alongside other commodities.
To their credit Amy Williams of Primary Producers’ SA and Tim Grieger of Summerfruits SA arranged for representatives from DEWNR – the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to meet with the PPs to reveal how it is that allocations are determined and to consider what particular information irrigators need to make best decisions about water. Ben Smith, Yvette Colton and Renee Thompson, policy officers from DEWNR, presented information about the methods used by water authorities across the MDB states and the Authority to determine allocations from year to year. Efficacy of communication channels and tools used to disseminate meaningful information to SA’s PPs were also debated. Accessibility to ‘real-time’ data is crucial if irrigators are to become well practised and confident in managing water assets. In an ideal world, smartphone/tablet apps will be developed to enable important decisions to be made without the need to go to meetings, logon, decipher, interrogate, or shout out for answers.
The DEWNR reps agreed to continue building closer working relationships with Riverland PPs and indeed Yvette Colton will be one of the presenters at a workshop to take place at the Loxton Research Centre on Monday, July 3.
That workshop, aims to improve irrigators understanding of various water markets, and how to manage these effectively.
Other items will include:
- Better understanding of the connected nature of the Southern Murray-Darling Basin and the industry dynamics across the region.
- The concept of effective capital deployment to achieve water security.
- What banks consider when assessing water security and primary production risks.
- Banks expectations in relation to climate risk management.
- An update on the 2017/18 Seasonal Outlook and other factors that may have an impact on the market.
The free workshop has been facilitated by ICEWaRM, in collaboration PIRSA, DEWNR and economic advisory firm Aither. Alister Walsh, CEO of Waterfind Australia will chair the workshop. Other presenters will include: Ben Fee, Manager Agribusiness Initiatives PIRSA and Yvette Colton, Principal Policy Officer DEWNR;
Subject: Managing Your Water Asset Workshop