Ord
Water access

Water rights, entitlements, allocations and restrictions

Introduction

This note provides information about the water access rights granted to the users of the Ord region's water resources and the associated allocation announcements, diversions and forfeitures – adjustments. Information about restrictions to water access rights is also included in this note.

The 2011 Account acknowledges varying jurisdictional legislative water resource management frameworks related to Australian rights to water. Jurisdictional legislative water resource management frameworks vary greatly between jurisdictions. Comparisons are difficult. The Bureau of Meteorology has developed and applied an accounting concept to classify and report water entitlements within a water-asset/water-liability framework.

According to that framework, surface water rights are categorised broadly as either:

Groundwater rights are categorised broadly into either:


Surface water rights

Surface water access entitlement for direct diversion

In the Ord region, water access entitlements that may not create a water liability are constituted of unregulated entitlements (definition: 2011 Account Glossary) for the purposes of the 2011 Account if they refer to water from one or more of the following resources:

  • Dunham River
  • King River
  • rivers and streams upstream of Lake Argyle, including the Ord River, Wilson River and Negri River.

The Keep River is considered to be unregulated for the purposes of the 2011 Account, as there were no regulated water access entitlements associated with the river during the 2010–11 year.

Surface water access entitlement for allocation diversion

In  the Ord region, water access entitlements that may create a water liability are constituted of regulated entitlements (definition: 2011 Account Glossary) for the purposes of the 2011 Account if they refer to water from one or more of the following resources:

  • Lake Argyle
  • Lake Kununurra
  • Ord River Irrigation Area
  • Ord River main channel, downstream of Lake Kununurra
  • Moochalabra Dam.

Table 1 summarises, for the surface water resource, the volumes of the entitlements on issue, the allocations announced, the actual abstractions and use of allocation, and the forfeiture and adjustments of allocations, during the 2010–11 year.

Table 1. Summarised information on surface water rights, allocations, abstractions and forfeiture, adjustment for the Ord region during the 2010-11 year

Water rights (at 30 June 2011)

Water allocation (201011)

Water abstraction/use (201011)

Forfeiture, adjustment (201011)

Reporting line item

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocation diversion

21.1 Surface water allocation announcements

34,570

17.11 Surface water allocation diversion

12,339

13.1 Adjustment and forfeiture of surface water allocation

23,664

21.2 Surface water allocation announcements – urban system

775

17.12 Surface water allocation diversion – urban system

430

13.2 Adjustment and forfeiture of surface water allocation – urban system

333

21.3 Surface water allocation announcements – irrigation scheme

338,100

17.13 Surface water allocation diversion – irrigation scheme

161,155

13.3 Adjustment and forfeiture of surface water allocation – irrigation scheme

178,586

Total

 

373,445

 

173,924

 

202,583

 

More information about the items presented in the table above is provided in the linked Line item notes.

Groundwater rights

Table 2 summarises, for the groundwater resource, the volumes of the entitlements on issue, the allocations announced, the actual abstractions and use of allocation, and the forfeiture and adjustments of allocations, during the 2010–11 year.

All groundwater entitlements in the Ord region may create a water liability for the purpose of the 2011 Account and are classified as 33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocation extraction.


Table 2. Summarised information on groundwater rights, allocations, abstractions and forfeiture, adjustment for the Ord region during the 2010–11 year

Water rights (at 30 June 2011)

Water allocation (201011)

Water abstraction/use (201011)

Forfeiture, adjustment (201011)

Reporting line item

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocation extraction

22.1 Groundwater allocation announcements

12,752

18.11 Groundwater allocation extraction

7,912

14.1 Adjustment and forfeiture of groundwater allocation

4,136

22.2 Groundwater allocation announcements – urban system

2,700

18.12 Groundwater allocation extraction – urban system

1,774

14.2 Adjustment and forfeiture of groundwater allocation – urban system

989

22.3 Groundwater allocation announcements – irrigation scheme

18.13 Groundwater allocation extraction – irrigation scheme

14.3 Adjustment and forfeiture of groundwater allocation – irrigation scheme

Sub-total

 

15,452

 

9,686

 

5,125



More information about the items presented in the table above is provided in the linked line item notes.

Restrictions

There were no water restrictions in the Ord region during the 2010–11 year.

Water market activity

Trade is permitted within the Ord Irrigation Cooperative as described in the  Trade and water rights transfer section of the Contextual information.

No trade occurred during the 2010–11 year.

Water use

Economic, social and cultural benefit

A total volume of 3,282 ML was provided for public water supply, parks, gardens and recreation, and stock and domestic in the Ord region during the 2010–11 year.

A volume of 2,042,807 ML was assumed to be released from Lake Argyle for hydro-electricity generation during the 2010–11 year; the same as was reported for the 2009–10 year. This water has the dual purpose of administering water access entitlements downstream, including bulk irrigation in the Ord River Irrigation Area, and other agricultural, commercial and industrial and mining activities.


Water for economic, social and cultural benefit in the Ord region during the 2010–11 year

Line item

Licence purpose

Volume abstracted (ML)

17.11 Surface water allocation diversion

Agriculture

9,835

Commercial and institutional

107

Industry and power generation

7

Mining

1,447

Parks, gardens and recreation

392

Stock and domestic

551

17.12 Surface water allocation diversion – urban system

Public water supply

430

17.13 Surface water allocation diversion – irrigation scheme

Irrigation

161,155

18.11 Groundwater allocation extraction

Agriculture

30

Commercial and institutional

395

Industry and power generation

2

Mining

7,350

Parks, gardens and recreation

22

Stock and domestic

113

18.12 Groundwater allocation diversion

Public water supply

1,774

Surface water released for hydro power

 

2,042,807

Total

 

2,226,417


Water provided for the environment to maintain specific levels in the lower Ord River has the dual purpose of satisfying ecological requirements and allowing access to boats for recreational purposes.

Periods of low flow in the lower Ord River are administered to support traditional hunting and fishing activities. This occurs from time to time when maintenance and inspection work on dam infrastructure is required, however this did not occur during the 2010–11 year.

Environmental benefit

Introduction

Environmental Water Provision in the Ord region comes under the following environmental water management scenario: planned partly regulated (or 'supplemented') surface water.

Environmental water legislation

See Contextual information then Administration then Environmental water management for guidance.

Environmental water provisions

See Contextual information then Administration then Environmental water management for guidance.

Environmental water provision: planned partly regulated surface water

This type of environmental water management occurs in the Ord region through operation of storages.

Environmental water determination

Water for environmental benefit was provided through operating rules for Lake Argyle. Operating rules for Lake Argyle include the release of water to protect the current environmental values of the lower Ord River, as defined by the Ord River Water Management Plan (2006).

Environmental water commitment

Water Corporation manages environmental water releases from Lake Argyle to ensure that minimum monthly flow rates for the lower Ord River are satisfied. These flow rates must be satisfied at Tarrara Bar in the lower Ord River. Figure 1 compares the observed monthly flow rates at Tarrara Bar to the minimum required flow rates during the 2010–11 year.

Operating rules for Lake Argyle also require water to be provided to Spillway Creek, at specified lake levels. When the water level of Lake Argyle is between 86.2 m and 92.2 m, water must be released to Spillway Creek.

Environmental water outcomes

A total volume of 18,104,939 ML was provided for environmental benefit in the Ord region during the 2010–11 year. Observed flow rates exceeded minimum flow requirements at Tarrara Bar for all months during the 2010–11 year (see Figure 1).



Figure 1. Graph of the monthly flow rates compared with the required minimum flow rates at Tarrara Bar during the 2010–11 year
Figure 1. Graph of the monthly flow rates compared with the required minimum flow rates at Tarrara Bar during the 2010–11 year


The total volume of water that passed Tarrara Bar in the 2010–11 year was 18,104,939 ML, as presented at line item 17.2 Outflow to outside region. Line item 42.5 Releases from storage reports that 9,969,687 ML of water was released from storage for environmental benefit and delivered to Spillway Creek in 2010–11.