In March this year, Aither participated in a series of River Murray Water Information Sessions held across the South Australian (SA) Murray region. The sessions were incredibly well attended with over 500 irrigators, water industry participants and a range of government agencies attending.

The information sessions were arranged by the SA Department of Environment and Water (DEW), SA Murray–Darling Basin NRM Board and local irrigation and industry groups, with the purpose to inform and consult with the irrigation industry on current climate conditions and outlook, upcoming opening allocation announcements, new carryover arrangements and broader water market trends, drivers and risk management opportunities available to irrigators.

This great initiative demonstrated the value of open and early dialogue with industry.

Sessions were held at Renmark (hosted by Renmark Irrigation Trust), Barmera (hosted by Central Irrigation Trust), Waikerie (hosted by Citrus Growers of SA), Loxton (hosted by Riverland Wine), Murray Bridge (hosted by the South Australian Dairy Farmers’ Association), and Langhorne Creek (hosted by Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine).

Jarrod Eaton and Ashley Kingsborough from DEW outlined the dry conditions currently facing the area and the medium-term outlook and gave a summary of how the department is improving its approach to water management in the SA Murray by:

  • Providing projected minimum opening allocations by mid-April each year,
  • Providing regular water information including probabilities on future allocations throughout the water year,
  • More regular updates on water conditions, and
  • Making improvements to the way carryover is offered and managed

Aither’s Chris Olszak and Kai Wakerman Powell were engaged to provide a system-wide overview of supply and demand changes across the southern Murray–Darling Basin, recent trends in prices, and information on the new and innovative options available to irrigators to help manage water supply risk for their businesses.

Aither’s Water Markets team covered diversifying entitlement purchase, allocation markets, forwards, entitlement leases, and parking among other options.

Chris Olszak from Aither commented that

“The water market now provides more risk management options to irrigators than ever before. The main point we were trying to share with industry was that every irrigation business should consider these options on their merits and the extent to which they help meet their own nuances of managing the risks, costs and benefits along with the needs of each enterprise”.

Since the sessions were held interest in the water markets from media and industry has continued. Chris Olszak is regularly contacted by media seeking further information around current and future market projections, including being in the South Australian Advertiser.

In May Aither will take these sessions further by delivering focused water market workshops with irrigators in the Riverland. These workshops have been organised by Riverland Wine and funded by Wine Australia. Their purpose is to provide practical information, advice and tool for irrigators to make the challenging decisions about how best to manage their water and vineyards over the coming season.

Aither also works directly with landowners, investors and the broader irrigation industry to provide specific advice and information.

For more information on the sessions or how Aither can support your water management and trading decision making, please contact Chris on chris.olszak@aither.com.au

Further information can be found here.