Water allocations have just been announced at 14% of entitlements! Many were anticipating 40% or thereabouts but the Department for Environment and water has chosen to follow the eastern States practice of announcing the lowest possible number but also to quote likely final allocations. Noting that the main inflow historically occurs between July and November the announcement also predicts a 90% probability of allocations moving to at least 75% and a 60% chance of 100%. These outlook figures include a boost to irrigators of 8% as a benefit from the desalination plant; not available during the last drought.
Private carryover of up to 20% of unused 2018-19 water will be available to those who are eligible, to add to their 2019-20 entitlements.
In anticipation of the need for information and support to help navigate these uncertain times Riverland Wine has organised comprehensive ‘hands-on’ project for members, to be convened on May 22 and 23 at the Loxton Research Centre
The project aims to utilise dedicated workshops to provide growers with some practical guidance in developing and implementing a water management strategy for their vineyards. Details of several presenters are still being finalised. The key topics to be covered (with an emphasis on management strategies) include:
- Water storage trends – how do they affect your allocation?
- Linking water market price trends to storage and demand. What does it mean for leasing and purchase prices?
The Water Market:
- If you need to bring in more water what are the best options?
- When should I make my decisions?
- What are the financial implications of the various options?
- What is the cost/benefit for my varieties?
On farm water use management:
- What are my options for reducing water usage in the vineyard? What are the best short- and long-term options?
- Can I reduce my water usage without significantly affecting yields?
Subject to final confirmation the presenters will include
Aither: ‘Contemporary trends and drivers of irrigation in the southern Murray-Darling Basin’. This presentation would be based upon RIRDC Publication 16/007.
ABARE: ‘Predicting water storage trends’.
TBA: ‘Controlling canopy development through smart and careful application strategies’.
Prof. Peter Dry (AWRI): ‘How much water do your vines really need?’
TBA: ‘Minimising the water (and nutrition) moving past your root zone’.
Aither personnel will also operate and facilitate the workshop, which will be very hands-on and adapted specifically to Riverland Wine members’ needs in the Riverland. Much of the financial presentation and analysis will be based on average Riverland costs of production as generated by the ‘Know Your Numbers’ tool.
The presentations will not include topics associated with irrigation infrastructure and systems as the majority of growers have efficient systems.
Final details will be announced next week along with another announcement about a possible Basin Tour.