Flinders unallocated water release

Amended Terms of Sale

On 14 April 2022, the Department released an amended Terms of Sale via public notice (PDF, 143KB).

In response to a high level of demand for water in the Flinders River Catchment area we have released 110,000ML of general reserve unallocated water for purposes which relate to 'rural' or 'any' within the Water Plan (Gulf) 2007.

The water being made available is surface water from watercourses (including tributaries) and overland flow water.

By making water available, we are supporting economic development and assisting in the State's recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

This water has been accounted for and set aside for consumptive use through the water planning process. It is therefore within the sustainable limits for extraction from the system during the times of water flow.

What has changed

The amended Terms of Sale does not change the structure of the release process, nor does it change the volume of water being made available. Rather, the changes aim to provide clarity and certainty about the application and assessment processes for tenderers and stakeholders and intends to maximise participation in this unallocated water release process.

To encourage participation, the Terms of Sale have been amended to allow:

  • for the period of a call option deed to be extended beyond the initial 3 years, from 1 year to 2 years, as may be particularly relevant to large-scale projects
  • and
  • tenderers to request a watercourse determination up until 16 May 2022.

The Terms of Sale provides tenderers with clarity and certainty, by amending:

  • the requirements of the water product to be developed by the tenderer and enabling this to include multiple activities which may be required for a greater range of water projects
  • the requirements to address adverse impacts to environmental flow objectives and other water users, and clearly defining that such strategies must be implemented (permanently) before any offer can be made
  • the process for how we will consider risks to ecological outcomes and a requirement for the tenderer to develop a strategy to address any risks identified
  • and
  • the processes for how tenderers will be ranked for the purposes of the assessment and how any remaining water available after the first successful tenderer is dealt with.

Apply for water release

The Terms of Sale provides detailed information about who is eligible and how to apply, as well as the Department's process for assessing applications.

Who can apply

To submit a tender application under the Terms of Sale a proponent must currently be eligible, or provide evidence that they will be eligible to hold a water licence under the Water Act 2000.

A person seeking water for a resource activity (mining related) is not eligible under this process.

The tender process

The release will be a tender process with 3 stages.

Stage 1: Tender Application Preliminary: Part: A

Key points

  • Eligible tenderers must submit a signed Stage 1 Tender Application with all the required information on or before the closing date. Conforming applications must meet the requirements for Stage 1 described under the Terms of Sale.
  • A watercourse determination outcome will be required for each location for taking or interfering with water.
  • Eligible tenderers must develop a water product that describes the water required for their project. The water product is developed using the approved catchment model and describes the activities for taking and interfering with water that must be authorised under the Water Act 2000 if the project were to proceed.
  • If the modelling identifies any adverse impacts the tenderer will need to rescope their project or submit a proposed permanent mitigation strategy. If the tender is progressed in Stage 2, the tenderer will be required to implement the strategy.

Key dates

  • 16 May 2022: watercourse determination requests must be made.
  • 5pm on 30 June 2022: Stage 1 tender applications must be submitted.

Stage 2: Tender Application Competitive: Part B

Key points

  • The Department will invite eligible and conforming tenderers from Stage 1 to submit their competitive tender application set out in the Terms of Sale.
  • Information provided as part of Stage 1 will also be used for the assessment.
  • The applications will be ranked in order of bid price from highest to lowest and then assessed in order starting with the highest ranked bid price.

Key dates

  • 5pm on 31 October 2022: Stage 2 competitive tender applications must be submitted.

Stage 3A: Call Option Deed – Offer

Key points

  • We will offer successful tenderer(s) a call option deed to buy a water licence.
  • To accept the offer, the successful tenderer must pay the option fee and sign the call option deed and return it to the Department by the due date.
  • If there is any remaining water available after the first successful tenderer has signed a call option deed, another bidder in Stage 2 may be asked to revise their water product consistent with the remaining volume available.

Stage 3B: Call Option Deed – Grant of Water Licence(s)

Key points

We will grant the water licences in accordance with the terms in the call option deed upon satisfactory completion of all the call option conditions and payment of the balance purchase price.