Ord
Water access and use

Water rights, entitlements, allocations and restrictions

a. Introduction

This note provides information about the water access rights granted by jurisdictions to the users of the region's water resources and the associated allocation announcements, diversions, adjustments and forfeitures.

The 2012 Account acknowledges that the legislative water resource management frameworks relating to Australian water rights vary greatly across jurisdictions, sometimes making comparisons difficult. To facilitate meaningful comparisons between the water accounting reports included in the 2012 Account, the Bureau has developed and applied an accounting concept to classify and report water entitlements within a water asset/water liability framework.

According to that framework, water rights for the Ord region for the 2011–12 year have been classified as shown in Tables 1 and 2.


b. Surface water rights

Table 1 summarises the surface water rights for the Ord region, including surface water allocations, abstractions, adjustments and forfeitures during the 2011–12 year.

The total water allocation announcement is assumed to equal 100% of the annual entitlement.

 

Table 1  Summarised information on surface water rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustments and forfeitures for the Ord region during the 2011–12 year

Water rights (at 30 June 2012)

Water allocation (2011–12)

Water abstraction (2011–12)

Adjustment and forfeiture (2011–12)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions

375,677

21.1

36,802

17.11

20,029

13.1

14,266

21.2

775

17.12

422

13.2

418

21.3

338,100

17.13

155,362

13.3

182,738

Total

375,677

 

375,677

 

175,813

 

197,422

 

More information about the items presented in Table 1 is provided in the linked line item notes.


c. Groundwater rights

Table 2 summarises the groundwater rights for the Ord region, including groundwater allocations, abstractions, adjustments and forfeitures during the 2011–12 year.

The total water allocation announcement is assumed to equal 100% of the annual entitlement.

 

Table 2  Summarised information on groundwater rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustments and forfeitures for the Ord region during the 2011–12 year

Water rights (at 30 June 2012)

Water allocation (2011–12)

Water abstraction (2011–12)

Adjustment and forfeiture (2011–12)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocated extractions

14,125

22.1

11,425

18.11

11,266

14.1

85

22.2

2,700

18.12

1,842

14.2

898

Total

14,125

 

14,125

 

13,108

 

983

 

More information about the items presented in Table 2 is provided in the linked line item notes.

 

d. Water restrictions

There were no water restrictions in the Ord region during the 2011–12 year.


Water market activity

Trade is permitted within the Ord Irrigation Cooperative as described in the Water rights note; however, no trade occurred during the 2011–12 year.

Water use

Economic, social and cultural benefit

During the previous two years, approximately 2,100,000 ML was assumed to be released from Lake Argyle for hydroelectricity generation (Department of Water 2012). 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.

For a summary of the water volumes allocated for various economic purposes within the Ord region, including the actual volumes abstracted, refer to line items 32.3 and 33.3.

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 2011–12 year.

Environmental benefit

Introduction

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


Environmental water legislation

Information on the Ord region's environmental water legislation is provided in the Environmental water management section of the 'Contextual information'.


Environmental water provisions

Information on the Ord region's environmental water provisions is provided in the Environmental water management section of the 'Contextual information'.


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

The 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 (Station 809339). Figure 1 compares the observed monthly flow rates at Tarrara Bar to the minimum required flow rates during the 2011–12 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 6,682,461 ML was provided for environmental benefit in the Ord region during the 2011–12 year. This is equivalent to the total annual flow observed at the compliance point at Tarrara Bar (see line item 17.2). Figure 1 shows that observed flow rates exceeded minimum flow requirements at Tarrara Bar for all months during the 2011–12 year.


Figure 1 Graph of the monthly flow rates compared with the required minimum flow rates at Tarrara Bar during the 2011–12 year
Figure 1 Graph of the monthly flow rates compared with the required minimum flow rates at Tarrara Bar during the 2011–12 year