Water Sharing Opportunities in the Southern Basin

March 2020

The Ricegrowers' Association of Australia has consulted groups across the rice industry, including SunRice to identify potential opportunities for enhancing water sharing in the Southern Basin between NSW, Vic and SA.


  1. A holistic approach to water sharing, where water is water with a multitude of purposes, rather than dividing it up into buckets under rigid water sharing arrangements.
  2.  Flexibility for river operators to adjust dilution and loss commitments under the Murray Darling Basin Agreement when environmental water is serving the same purpose in reducing salinity in the Lower Lakes, particularly in dry and drought years.
  3.  Reducing Lower Lakes levels in drought years to reduce conveyance and evaporation losses, and to share drought impacts more equitably across the southern Basin.
  4.  Total South Australian transparency and accountability on how it manages Murray River water once it crosses the border, particularly CEWH flows, the dilution and loss entitlement, and its own environmental entitlement under the MDB Agreement.
  5.  A comprehensive and modern gauging network across the Murray River system and its tributaries to accurately determine the location and volume of conveyance losses, to enable more efficiency in river operations and assignment of losses.
  6.  Conveyance losses factored into all allocation trades downstream from their entitlement source zone in the Murray and its tributaries. The conveyance losses for commercial trades should be based on a rigorous analysis of losses through the system, rather than relying on the environment’s arbitrary ‘rule of thumb’ scale.
  7.  This change would help to restore the reliability of NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee general security entitlements, consistent with commitments in the 2004 National Water Initiative, the Water Act 2007 and the 2012 Murray-Darling Basin Plan that the policy reforms would not erode the reliability of anyone’s water property rights.

Read the full submission here