Thinking ahead – the 2017/18 season

Monday 24 July, 2017

This year’s irrigation season will start August 15.

System reserves built during 2016/17 continue to point to a mostly positive outlook for water availability going into the new season. However, it is worth remembering that flows into the major storages are still well below average.

Northern Victorian Resource Manager Dr Mark Bailey said the catchments are starting to respond to rain after the very dry conditions of May and June.

He said the current flows are those that would be expected under our Dry to Very Dry scenario – Dry being ‘inflow volumes to major storages that are greater in 90 years out of 100’ and Very Dry being ‘inflow volumes to major storages that are greater in 95 years out of 100’.

Bureau of Meteorology seasonal outlook data indicates the below-average rainfall across all of northern Victoria will continue from now until September.

The Bureau has indicated it is unlikely that an El Nino event will develop this year, but other climate drivers are affecting weather patterns.

Dr Bailey said the dry outlook would not affect water deliveries in any northern Victorian water system.

As part of the seasonal determination update issued on Monday July 17, for high-reliability water shares (HRWS) the Murray system remains unchanged at 66 per cent, the Goulburn and Loddon systems remain at 36 per cent and the Campaspe system remains at 100 per cent.

The Broken system increases from 1 per cent to 3 per cent HRWS and the Bullarook system increases from zero per cent to 16 per cent HRWS.

Outlooks provide entitlement holders with a guide to what the season may bring in terms of water availability.

Because the future volume of water that flows into the storages – the inflows – is highly uncertain, historical information is used to help determine the most accurate seasonal outlook possible.