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REVOLUTION is occurring
with the management of
Australia's water resources.
Australia is moving away from the
common law towards a legislative
approach of licensing water use.
While licensing water use brings
more complexity to farm manage-
ment, it also can add value to farms.
Governments across Australia
have separated water from land, and
these changes mean that water has a
separate value to land.
Some water licences in Australia
are extremely valuable. For example,
the price paid for SA Murray water
licences has increased significantly
during the past 20 years.
shows this increase.
The price of a River Murray water
licence in SA has increased from
about $50 to $100 a megalitre in
1990 to a high of about $2600/mgL
in 2007. The price of a River Murray
water licence is about $1750/mgL.
Smart farmers have always known
the value of having water available
for their properties. Tanks, dams
and bores readily come to mind.
Some farmers are worried about cli-
mate change and considering the
need to supplement their existing
Academics are talking about a
comprehensive approach to water
management. This approach
involves the ability to access multi-
ple sources of water. Farmers have
been doing this forever, but acade-
mics have given it a name and are
referring to this comprehensive
Dams are being built on properties
where tanks were previously the
only source of water. Ground (bore)
water is being considered to supple-
ment dam water even though the
cost of a dam is expensive. Effluent
water is being placed on gardens
surrounding farm houses.
Other sources of water are being
explored. One example is the farmer
who bought a small water licence
(about 5mgL) to access River
Murray water. The interesting aspect
about this is that the farmer's prop-
erty is in the Adelaide Hills, about
50km from the River Murray.
The river water is transported to
the farmer's property via a public
pipeline operated by SA Water.
Annual charges are paid by the
farmer to SA Water to transport the
water. As well, the water has to be
taken 'off season' i.e. winter, when
there is less demand on SA Water's
The transported water is stored in
a turkey nest dam and then pumped
from the dam to be placed on the
farmer's grape vines. Normally, it is
shandied with groundwater. The
turkey nest dam was a condition of
the water use approval. The River
Murray water could not be stored in
an existing water course. As a result,
the dam was constructed away from
any natural run-off, so there was no
immediate mixing of local and river
This is one example of a compre-
hensive approach to water. The
farmer has access to tank water,
mains water, bore water and water
from a river situated many kilome-
tres away. He probably placed his
treated effluent on his lawns.
Another example of change with
the management of our water
resources happens with Barossa
Infrastructure Limited. It is a large
corporation which receives piped
River Murray water in the wine dis-
trict, north of Adelaide, and distrib-
utes water to grapegrowers in the
valley. Tarac Techology, which is also
in the Barossa, treats and returns
winery wastewater to local farms.
The Willunga Basin Water
Value-add SA properties
with water management
1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010
Permanent Price Temporary Price
Alternative water sources
Comprehensive water management
Price of water
Transport of water
with DR RJ (Bob) O'BRIEN
Company takes and supplies treated
effluent from the Christies Beach
Waste Water Plant and supplies this
treated effluent to grapegrowers in
the McLaren Vale region. The supply
of treated effluent has reduced
demand on groundwater supplies,
which were depleting in the area.
A comprehensive approach to
water management and use will not
be possible for all readers of smart-
farmer, but farmers are more aware
of this concept than city folk, who
are slowly being educated about
• Need to know more?
T: 1300 737 228
Table 1: Max Price of SA River Murray Water Licences
Murray water is being piped 50km for
N SYSTEMS & COMPONENTS:
n, installation, service and parts
d service of pumps, electric, diesel,
3 Qualified service staff based at Murray Bridge and Keith
4 Able to supply and install tanks (of all sizes), pumps,
sprinklers and pipework for domestic, hobby farm or small
5 Comprehensive range of products to suit all your water
Twelve months ago we purchased a property that
was already producing small square bales of
lucerne, utilising a very inefficient irrigation
We went and saw Phil Caldecott at Irrigation
Systems & Components. He advised that the
answer to our irrigation problems was to purchase a centre pivot.
He expained that this would be the most efficient and cost effective
method of irrigation for us, as it would improve the overall water
use efficiency and is a far more cost effective and less labour and
fuel intensive method than what we were using.
So we took his advice and purchased a centre pivot from him. Phil
and his team provided and installed the system and have been great
to deal with at all stages of the purchase and installation. We are
looking forward to realising the benefits in the coming season of
Phil's knowledge and expertise. Thanks to you and your team Phil!
-- Glen and Tanya Traeger 0418 802 510
Ph: 08 8531 3200 Fax: 08 8531 3573
Lot 50 Kennett Road, Murray Bridge SA 5253
Web: www.ausrain.com.au Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOT JUST WATER
Why would you go anywhere else!
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