If Mid Murray Council is forced to purchase extra water for the Mannum Waters Marina on a yearly basis, residents could see a considerable increase in their rates.
To avoid this, the council is preparing to lobby the state government to alter the legislation that requires them to purchase extra water to account for evaporation.
Council staff have been reviewing the framework that requires evaporation to be allocated as part of a Water Licence, which could cost council $500,000.
Acting Director of Development and Environmental Services Joel Taggart said purchasing a Water Licence was not financially possible.
Instead, he said council would have to continue relying on its water allocation from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and purchasing extra water to top up the marina.
“We’ve used our water allocation over the past two years but we’ve had a wet season and we didn’t experience any cuts to our allocation, which could definitely happen in the future, and council doesn’t want to wear that cost,” he said.
Mr Taggart said council staff had prepared a discussion paper to be presented to relevant State Ministers and government departments.
“We’ve sought legal advice to support our work but we’re basing our argument around the fact that it will not be financially viable for anyone to build another marina in South Australia,” he said.
“The new regulations came in in 2007 so we’re the first council to develop a marina under it… we don’t believe it’s a cost councils should have to wear.”
If unsuccessful, Mr Taggart said council would look at ways to cover the costs of purchasing extra water.
“We could cover costs by increasing rates or imposing a cost on home owners and users of Mannum Waters,” he said.
Chief executive officer Russell Peate said it was important that council advocated for change, as there “would not be another marina in SA while the legislation remains as it is”.
We could cover costs by either increasing council rates or imposing a cost on users of Mannum Waters