Declaration and directions

On Monday 21 November 2022 the State Coordinator for the State of South Australia, Commissioner of Police Grant Stevens, declared the River Murray flooding a major emergency.

Declaration

The Governor of South Australia has approved a further 45 day extension of the existing Declaration of a Major Emergency commencing on 19 January 2023.

Directions

River Murray Direction

Emergency Management (River Murray) (No 6) Direction 2023 is now revoked.

This direction may be cited as the Emergency Management (River Murray) (No 7) Direction 2023. It came into effect at 3:08 pm Monday 6 February 2023.

Lake Bonney Direction

This direction may be cited as the Emergency Management (Lake Bonney) Revocation 2023.

The revocation operates from 4:57 pm 2 February 2023.

Emergency Management (Lake Bonney) Revocation 2023 (588.4 KB PDF) - 2 February 2023

Emergency Managment (Lake Bonney) Revocation 2023 (37.4 KB DOCX) -  2 February 2023

Common questions

Definitions

What area is considered to be the River Murray?

River Murray means the River Murray itself, and all anabranches (stream that leaves a river and re-enters it further along its course), tributaries, flood plains, wetlands, and estuaries that are in any way connected or associated with the river, and related beds, banks, and shores, but does not include Lake Bonney.

What is a levee?

A levee means an embankment constructed to prevent the overflow of the River Murray and includes a cellular geotextile barrier system and a sandbag barrier.

What is an engaged levee?

An engaged levee means a levee that is in contact with water.

What is the difference between Zone A, B C, D, E, F, G, H?

Zone A – the part of the River Murray from where it enters South Australia to the upriver side of Lock 5.

Zone B – the part of the River Murray from the downriver side of Lock 5 to the upriver side of Lock 4.

Zone C – the part of the River Murray from the downriver side of Lock 4 to the upriver side of Lock 3, but not including Lake Bonney.

Zone D – the part of the River Murray from the downriver side of Lock 3 to the upriver side of Lock 2.

Zone E – the part of the River Murray from the downriver side of Lock 2 to the upriver side of Lock 1.

Zone F – the part of the River Murray from the downriver side of Lock 1 to the upriver side of the Wellington ferry crossing.

Zone G – the part of the River Murray from the downriver side of the Wellington ferry crossing to where the river enters Lake Alexandrina, the Coorong, the Lower Lakes, and the Murray Mouth.

Zone H – Lake Bonney.

View the Zone map (82.8 KB PDF).

What is a personal watercraft?

A personal watercraft:

  • is propelled by a motor, and
  • has a fully enclosed hull, and
  • is designed not to retain water if capsized, and
  • is designed to be operated by a person who sits astride, stands, or kneels on the device, and includes a jetski.

What is considered a houseboat?

A houseboat means a motorised vessel that is comprised of a house structure built on a cross deck that is supported by pontoons.

What is a pontoon boat?

A pontoon boat means a motorised vessel that is comprised of a cross deck supported by pontoons.

What is considered a motorised vessel?

A motorised vessel means a vessel that is fitted with an engine or motor and is propelled or moved by the engine or motor, and includes a personal watercraft.

What times are considered to be sunset and sunrise?

Information on sunrise and sunset times

Permitted purposes

What reasons can I remain in or on the River Murray?

A person must not enter or remain in or on the River Murray except for the following permitted purposes:

  • work
  • access to food, drinking water, medical assistance, aids, or supplies
  • access to any emergency relief or emergency supplies (including sandbags)
  • access to fuel
  • access to property
  • attendance on a guided tour by a recognised tour operator
  • to reduce risk to life, of injury to persons, of injury to animals, or damage to property
  • to respond to an emergency.

Does access to property include a business? Does it include accessing livestock?

People can continue to access inundated businesses (including houseboat companies to check moorings etc). People can attend to check on the welfare of their livestock and primary producers can also check on irrigation infrastructure - ie pumps.

Prohibited activities in all Zones

In all zones, a person must not:

  • enter or remain on an engaged levee except for an emergency, inspection, maintenance, or repair.
  • moor, anchor, attach, or secure, or cause to be moored, anchored, attached or secured in any way any vessel to an engaged levee.
  • when operating a vessel, exceed a speed of 4 knots within 250 metres of an engaged levee or within 250 metres from any dwelling or buildings, where any part of the dwelling or building is partially or wholly submerged.

Zone A

Are there any activities that are prohibited in Zone A?

Yes.

  • If operating a human powered vessel, you must not go within 250 metres of a lock or weir;
  • You must not swim, bathe or dive within 250 metres of a lock or weir;
  • If in or on the floodplain, you must not be within 50 metres of an overhead powerline; and
  • If operating a vessel you must not tow a person (water-skiing or similar)

Can I use my houseboat or pontoon boat in Zone A?

Yes, but you must not exceed a speed of 10 knots. You cannot exceed a speed of 4 knots within 250 m of an engaged levee or within 250 m from the location of any dwelling or buildings, where any part of the dwelling or building is partially or wholly submerged.

Can I jet-ski in Zone A?

Yes, but you must not exceed a speed of 10 knots. You cannot exceed a speed of 4 knots within 250 m of an engaged levee or within 250 m from the location of any dwelling or buildings, where any part of the dwelling or building is partially or wholly submerged. If in or on the floodplain, you must not be within 50 metres of an overhead powerline.

Is fishing or yabbying from my boat permitted in Zone A?

Yes.

Can I swim in Zone A?

Yes, but you must not swim, bathe or dive within 250 m of a lock or weir.

Can I kayak in Zone A?

Yes, but you must not go within 250 m of a lock or weir.

Can I tow someone from my boat in Zone A?

No, towing from a vessel is not permitted.

Are the restrictions around Ral Ral Bridge and Paringa Bridge still in effect?

No, the restrictions around Ral Ral Bridge and Paringa Bridge have been removed.

Zone B, C, D and E

Are there any activities that are prohibited in Zones B, C, D and E?

Yes:

  • If operating a human powered vessel, you must not go within 250 metres of a lock or weir;
  • You must not swim, bathe or dive within 250 metres of a lock or weir;
  • If operating a vessel, you must not exceed a speed of 4 knots between sunset and sunrise
  • If in or on the floodplain, you must not be within 50 metres of an overhead powerline; and
  • If operating a vessel you must not tow a person (water-skiing or similar)

Can I use my houseboat or pontoon boat in Zones B, C, D and E?

Yes, but you must not exceed a speed of 10 knots. You must not exceed 4 knots between sunset and sunrise. You cannot exceed a speed of 4 knots within 250 m of an engaged levee or within 250 m from the location of any dwelling or buildings, where any part of the dwelling or building is partially or wholly submerged.

Can I jet-ski in Zones B, C, D and E?

Yes, but you must not exceed a speed of 10 knots. You must not exceed 4 knots between sunset and sunrise. You cannot exceed a speed of 4 knots within 250 m of an engaged levee or within 250 m from the location of any dwelling or buildings, where any part of the dwelling or building is partially or wholly submerged. If in or on the floodplain, you must not be within 50 metres of an overhead powerline.

Is fishing or yabbying from my boat permitted in Zones B, C, D and E?

Yes.

Can I swim in Zones B, C, D and E?

Yes, but you must not swim, bathe or dive within 250 m of a lock or weir.

Can I kayak in Zones B, C, D and E?

Yes, but you must not go within 250 m of a lock or weir.

Can I tow someone from my boat in Zones B, C, D and E?

No, towing from a vessel is not permitted.

Zone F

What are the prohibited activities in Zone F?

A person in or on the River Murray within Zone F for a permitted purpose must not:

  • operate human-powered vessels within 250 m of a lock or weir
  • swim, bathe or dive within 250 m of a lock or weir
  • undertake any fishing activity or place or leave any fishing apparatus from any vessel unless that person is a holder of a commercial fishery licence under the Fisheries Management Act 2007.

Is there anywhere in Zone F that I can fish?

It is permitted to undertake any fishing activity from the bank of the River Murray, a jetty that is not submerged, or from the balcony of a partially submerged property, but it is not permitted to undertake fishing activity from an engaged levee.

If I have a permitted purpose, can I operate a vessel above a speed of 4 knots on the River Murray in Zone F?

If you are operating a vessel on the River Murray for a permitted purpose, you must not exceed a speed of 4 knots:

  • within 250 m from the location of any dwelling or buildings, where any part of the dwelling or building is partially or wholly submerged
  • between the times of sunset and sunrise as published in the Government Gazette under the Proof of Sunrise and Sunset Act 1923.

If I have a permitted purpose, can I operate a personal watercraft on the River Murray in Zone F?

Yes, but you must not exceed a speed of 4 knots.

If I have a permitted purpose, can I operate a personal watercraft on the River Murray in Zone F?

Yes, but you must not exceed a speed of 4 knots.

If I have a permitted purpose, do I have to wear a lifejacket on the River Murray in Zone F?

Each occupant in the open area of a vessel up to 12 m in length must, at all times, wear a lifejacket equivalent to a level 50 standard or above.

How close can I be to an overhead powerline in Zone F?

A person in or on the floodplain within Zones E or F must not be within 50 m of an overhead powerline.

Can I walk on an engaged levee bank?

No, people are prohibited from walking/using/standing on engaged levees other than for the purpose of inspection, maintenance, repair, or emergency response.

Can I moor a vessel to an engaged levee?

No, you cannot moor, anchor, attach, or secure any vessel to a levee.

Zone G

What activities are prohibited in Zone G?

In Zone G, you cannot do the following activities:

  • operate human-powered vessels within 750m of the Murray mouth or within 250m of any of the barrages, unless the operator is a tour operator or under the direction of a tour operator,
  • swim, bathe or dive within 750m of the Murray mouth, or within 250m of any of the barrages, or
  • moor, anchor, attach, or secure a vessel to a barrage.

Lake Bonney

Are there any restrictions in Lake Bonney?

Yes:

  • A person must not enter or remain on a levee except if entering or remaining on a levee for the purpose of emergency response or inspection, maintenance, and repair (including inspection, maintenance and repair of the levee, power lines or other infrastructure).
  • A person must not moor, anchor, attach, or secure any vessel to a levee.
  • A person who operates a vessel on the River Murray must not exceed a speed of 4 knots within 250 m of a levee.

Tour operators

Can tour operators continue to operate?

Yes. For clarification, all people who participate in a guided tour are permitted to go on the water. Self-guided tours are not permitted.

Note that such Companies are regulated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and are required to address risk in their safety management system.

Restrictions, enforcement and support

Who will be enforcing the restrictions?

Marine safety teams and South Australia Police (SAPOL) officers will continue to have an increased presence on the River Murray and will be enforcing marine safety rules and laws, including the restrictions implemented as a result of the high flows.

Are there any exemptions to the restrictions?

Yes, the Emergency Management River Murray Direction 2023, does not apply to officers of South Australia Police, the South Australian State Emergency Services, an employee of the Road and Marine Services Division of the Department for Infrastructure and Transport, any authorised officer, or any person directed to assist an authorised officer under the Act. It also does not apply to people entering or remaining on a levee for the purpose of emergency response or inspection, maintenance, and repair (including inspection, maintenance and repair of the levee, power lines or other infrastructure).

Are there penalties for breaching any of the restrictions?

A person breaching the Emergency Management Act Direction may receive an expiation notice with a $1,000 fine (individual) or $5,000 business or you may be referred to court.

Will restrictions be lifted in stages or all at once?

It is anticipated that these restrictions will only be in place as long as they are required. To ensure public safety, the lifting of restrictions will occur based on risk assessments.

Where can I find out more about the high-flow event and the impact it’s having on the River Murray?

Information about current restrictions and the latest marine safety advice is available on the Marine Safety SA website.

What support is available for businesses?

Financial support, by way of various grants, is available for businesses forced to close or cease trading as a result of the River Murray Flood event. Two grants are available to assist both employing and non-employing qualifying small businesses.

These grants include: $10,000 support grant to non-employing businesses and $20,000 support grant to small businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million.


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Page last updated 6 February 2023

Provided by:
South Australia Police
URL:
https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/emergencies-and-safety/river-murray-flood/declaration-and-direction
Last Updated:
06/02/23
Printed on:
08/02/23
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2023
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