Diversions Customer Newsletter

Monday 4 March, 2024

A message from Manager Diversions and Groundwater and Streams Peter Clydesdale

Photograph of Steve Gemmill

Welcome to our autumn newsletter for diversions customers, with valuable information on how to manage your water coming up to the season’s busy period.

Autumn is the peak demand time for ordering water, so we encourage our regulated diverter customers to take advantage of some features of ordering water through the WaterLINE system.

WaterLINE allows you to record your own meter readings and to look at a summary of your water usage for the seasons, and helps you ensure you’re using the correct amount of water allocated to your licence.

It also details how much of your allocation is remaining, so you can plan for your water needs before the end of the season and consider the use, trade or carryover of water into the next season.

Regulated diverter customers are reminded they are required to place orders in WaterLINE prior to taking and using water. In line with GMW’s Customer Charter 2023, customers with service points greater than 50mm are required to order a minimum 96 hours prior to taking and using water.

As always, our Customer Experience team and Diversions Inspectors are here to help you manage your GMW account or your water needs – phone us on 1800 013 357 to discuss your options.


Peter Clydesdale
Manager Diversions and Groundwater and Streams

Table of contents

Northern Victorian Resource Manager releases 2024/25 Seasonal Determination Outlook

On 15 February 2024, seasonal determinations announcement included:

Water System

High-Reliability Water Share

Low-Reliability Water Share

Murray

100%

85%

Broken

100%

100%

Goulburn

100%

77%

Campaspe

100%

100%

Loddon

100%

77%

Bullarook

100%

100%

Further resource improvements in the Murray, Goulburn and Loddon systems will contribute to increasing allocations to low-reliability water shares. The last seasonal determination update for 2023/24 will be on 1 April 2024.

An outlook for 2024/25 seasonal determinations was released on 15 February 2024. This outlook provides information about possible high-reliability water share seasonal determinations at nominated dates under different inflow scenarios for the Murray, Goulburn and Loddon, Broken and Bullarook systems. 

The outlook is available on the Northern Victoria Resource Manager website (opens in new window).An updated outlook will be released on 15 May 2024.

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Spillable water accounts

Water flowing through flume gate

Customers in the Goulburn and Campaspe systems still have allocation in spillable water accounts.

This is because the risk of spill at Lake Eildon and Lake Eppalock before the end of the 2023/24 water year is greater than 10 per cent.

At the time of publishing (i.e. early March), the total volume held in spillable water accounts is 342 GL in the Goulburn system and 5 GL in the Campaspe system.

The spill risks are updated on the 10th of each month or the next business day until a low risk has been declared. If the spill risk remains above 10 per cent, the allocation remaining in spillable water accounts on 10 June 2024 will return to allocation accounts for entitlement holders to factor into their carryover planning for 2024/25.

A low risk of spill was declared in the Murray system on 11 December 2023 and 116 GL was returned from Murray spillable water accounts.

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Above entitlement storage fees

Above entitlement storage fees apply if the total carryover and allocation available over the season is more than the full water share volume.

This ensures people who hold more water in storage than their entitlement volume contribute their fair share of storage costs. Fees do not apply to any water that spills, or any allocation traded in during the current season.

Like the fixed entitlement storage fees, above entitlement storage fees are paid by the water share owner. However, above entitlement storage fees cannot be raised until allocations are finished and the declaration has been made. These fees are not raised until late in the season, with the end of season variable charges accounts.

It is important to be aware that if you buy a water share prior to the above entitlement storage fees being raised, you will be liable for any above entitlement storage fees issued later in the year for that water share.

More information about above entitlement storage fees is available in a fact sheet at the Victorian Water Register website (opens in new window).

The charges for each basin for 2023/24 are:

  • Goulburn - $4.37 per ML
  • Campaspe - $18.21 per ML
  • Murray - $4.61 per ML

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Place of Take Approvals Framework

A photo of a river, paddocks and surrounding township.

Victoria has introduced a new approach to water delivery entitlements that allows river diverters in declared systems to manage their own delivery risks.

The place of take approvals approach does not affect anyone’s water shares – it simply makes water users approvals to take water consistent and clarifies river diverters’ right (entitlement) to have that water delivered during the rare event of temporary rationing or shortfall.

The new framework provides water users:

  • More certainty about their rights to have water delivered down our rivers,
  • More flexibility to manage their own delivery risks, and
  • Confidence there are strong penalties to protect them from impacts of others taking more than their fair share during any river rationing.

This approach affects water users in Victorian declared systems, including the regulated Murray, Goulburn, Campaspe, Loddon, Broken, Ovens and Bullarook.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) has developed a series of fact sheets and frequently asked questions to explain the changes and what those changes mean for water users, which can be found at the  Place of take approvals webpage (opens in new window).

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Non-Urban Metering and Telemetry Project - Zone 7

GMW has received project funding from the Victorian Government to help upgrade meters and telemetry, or install telemetry on meters that are already compliant with the AS (Australian Standard) 4747 metering standard.

These works are a requirement of the Victorian Non-Urban Water Metering Policy (opens in new window).

The initial funding is for service points that have an average annual use of 100 megalitres or greater in water trading Zone 7.

This zone extends from the Barmah Choke to the South Australian border and has been identified as a priority area for the project, as it is the most significant water allocation trading zone in Victoria in terms of the number and value of trades.

The technology improvements will provide water-use data in real-time, reducing the cost of multiple manual meter readings throughout the season and providing customers with real-time access to accurate water use records to help manage available remaining allocation.

Stage one of the project involves meter inspections to determine which meters are required to be upgraded. This was completed in February 2024.

The costs of upgrades and telemetry will be funded through this project during stage two.

For more information, please contact the GMW Customer Experience team or your local Diversions Inspector on 1800 013 357.

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Groundwater management assessment in the Mid Loddon and West Campaspe

Following early consultation with licence holders, GMW is currently partnering with key agency stakeholders and traditional owner groups to prepare a draft of the West Campaspe Groundwater Management Area (GMA) Local Management Plan (LMP) for public consultation.

This plan will be released to the community through GMW’s website, and we encourage you to provide feedback on the draft plan which will be available to view on the Your Say @ GMW website, opens in new window.

Over the coming months GMW will be looking to appoint a committee to discuss groundwater issues in the Lower Loddon areas.

If you would like to be involved in this process, please contact us to express your interest by contacting Groundwater & Streams Coordinator Suzanne Hayes on 1800 013 357.

Further information relating to the new Loddon Plains GMA LMP will be available on the Your Say @ GMW website, opens in new windowin the coming weeks.

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Broken Reconfiguration Feasibility Study

An example of the Broken Reconfiguration Feasibility Study map with markers.The Broken Reconfiguration Feasibility Study aims to identify options for the Broken System to better meet the long-term needs of the community.

Following valuable face to face engagement in November, GMW are keen to keep the conversation open.

The Broken System encompasses an area of over 7000 square kilometres, which means it can be hard for community to get to face to face meetings, so the team have set up an online mapping tool to allow people to provide feedback at a time which suits them. Using the tool, community members can drop a pin on a digital map pinning their comment to any particular part of the study footprint their comments relates to. The project team can then include the local insights in their options development work. The map can be found at yoursay.gmwater.com.au/brfs

The study team are continuing with engagement activities to ensure local insights are supporting the development of options.

Once the draft options have started to take shape, another round of zone-based engagement will be undertaken in coming months to discuss the options and the practical implications with entitlement holders and stakeholders. Keep an eye out for invitations to these sessions via email, SMS and on the GMW project page.

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Kyabram GMW office closure

The Kyabram customer service centre office has permanently closed, and its services have transitioned to the Rochester customer service centre.

The Rochester office opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, GMW has seen a significant decrease in foot traffic across its regional customer service centres – including Kyabram.

Even since the easing of restrictions, front counter inquiries remain well below pre-COVID-19 numbers.

With improvements in technology, GMW staff have been able to head straight to the field to meet a customer without needing to visit or meet at a GMW office.

GMW will also continue to offer appointments to speak to a staff member via the phone and on farm/site.

If you require a face-to-face appointment at the Rochester customer service centre, you can arrange this by:

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Consider carrying over your unused water

As the end of the 2023/24 season approaches, it’s worth considering your water options.

Carryover allows regulated and groundwater diverters to take their unused water allocation into the next season in accordance with specific carryover rules for the system the allocation is held within.

Groundwater carryover works in much the same way as water entitlement carryover, although it is limited to a percentage of the licence volume held, and considerate of the specific Groundwater Management Plan Rules in each area:

  • Mid Loddon GMA - 30%
  • Mid Goulburn GMA - 20%
  • Lower Campaspe Valley GMA - 25%
  • Loddon Highlands GMA - 15%

Unused allocation will automatically carry over as long as it is held in an allocation account (ABA) linked to your water shares or licence volume on 30 June 2024.

The Victorian Water Register’s carryover calculator (opens in new window)is a helpful tool to understand how carryover rules work in northern Victoria and explore how carryover and allocations affect the amount of water available under your entitlements in different scenarios.

To discuss your carryover options, phone us on 1800 013 357.

More information can also be found at our website.

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Preparing for potential high water demand

Due to high allocations and good rainfall during the 2022/23 and 2023/24 irrigation seasons, customers have access to large volumes of entitlement for delivery.

This means there is a potential for high demand for consumptive use during autumn.

In instances where demand remains at capacity for only a short period, GMW will schedule irrigation orders to fit that demand. This ensures customers can generally receive their preferred duration and flow rate, albeit possibly at a time later or earlier than preferred.

If demand remains at capacity for an extended period, GMW may be required to enter into a “rationing cycle”. This restricts the volume of water available to a customer so the available capacity is shared.

GMW is asking customers to be prepared for potential high demand for water over the coming months.

This means you should continue ordering water using GMW's WaterLINE system. If demand for water does not remain at delivery capacity for an extended period, there will be no change to order scheduling. Orders for water can be placed up to ten days in advance.

If the need to ration the available capacity arises, the duration of your orders may be altered in accordance with the amount of Extraction Share you hold. Only customers who order their water will be able to take and use water in the event of rationing.

Our Diversions Inspectors will continue to manage the rivers by moving and adjusting orders to optimise river capacity, and will monitor the backlog of orders to determine if demand is likely to exceed capacity.

In the event that GMW needs to enter a rationing cycle, we will update customers who will potentially be affected via WaterLINE and text message with further information.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your water needs, please phone our Customer Experience team on 1800 013 357.

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WaterLINE and monitoring your use

All diversions customers have the ability to monitor their seasonal usage through accessing their water records via GMW’s water management system WaterLINE (opens in new window).

While regulated diverters will be familiar with the use of WaterLINE to place or vary orders, groundwater and unregulated customers may not have had exposure to the system.

WaterLINE allows customers to insert their own meter readings and produce a Water Usage Statement that summarises your water usage for the current season. The report details your seasonal allocation, any movement of water in and out through trade, and how much available allocation you have remaining to use, trade or carryover into the next season. WaterLINE is a valuable tool to help you manage your water.

To access WaterLINE, you will need to be issued a User Number and PIN to log into the system. If you need assistance in setting up WaterLINE phone 1800 013 357 and our Customer Experience team will connect you with your local Diversions Inspector who will help get you started. If you have lost or misplaced your User Number or PIN we can also assist you with resetting these.

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Meter reading reminder

GMW’s Diversions Inspectors undertake end-of-season meter readings during the months of May and June.

To assist customers, Diversions Inspectors record the end-of-season meter reading and date when the reading was taken on a sticker and place it on or near the meter so that it is clear what the final reading was. This reading becomes the start reading for the following season.

Any usage that occurs after the date recorded on the sticker and before 30 June needs to be communicated to your local Diversions Inspector on 1800 013 357 before 21 June 2024.

If you are a regulated surface water customer who would like to use entitlement during May or June, please ensure you order your requirements through WaterLINE or contact your local Diversion Inspector so that your usage can be accounted for in the current season.

If you are an unregulated surface water or groundwater customer and use water in the months of May or June, please inform your local Diversions Inspector so that the usage can be accounted for in the current season.

Failure to do so will result in any usage after the end-of-season meter reading being accounted for against your 2024/25 usage. 

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Groundwater licencing process

Under the  Victorian Water Act 1989, GMW issues and administers groundwater licences on behalf of the Minister for Water.

A groundwater licence can be a valuable, even business saving asset to a farm or other commercial operation. You should be aware however, application to take and use groundwater is a significant undertaking, involving expensive construction, detailed technical assessment and associated costs. It is important that before placing any applications that you discuss your proposed development with GMW staff to understand your potential for success, timelines, and risks.

The process often involves advertising and notifications, time for submissions, site inspections and referrals, with expected processing times ranging from three to six months, or longer if additional technical investigations are required to be completed by an applicant.

If you intend to take groundwater for irrigation or commercial purposes you will need to first make application to GMW for a licence to Construct works (a bore) for a licensable purpose. Once the works are installed you can then make application for a licence to Take and Use/Operate Works. In most cases (other than the Shepparton Irrigation Region), this will mean an application for a permanent or temporary transfer of licensed entitlement from an existing groundwater licence holder.

The risks of any application are considered by GMW and will depend on factors such as bore location and construction, scale of proposed development and proximity to other water users and/or environmental features such as waterways. GMW also needs to ensure that any requirements of existing management plans are implemented.

Depending on the risks identified, you may be requested to undertake a hydrogeological investigation and pumping test to allow GMW to properly your application.

If you have any questions about the licensing process GMW follows, please phone us on 1800 013 357.

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Hazardous dams

A photo of a dam with a tree hanging over it.If you are the owner of a dam, GMW is asking that you take some general precautions including inspecting and monitoring for signs of deficiencies, clearing spillways and outlet pipes to help pass flows, and repairing any cracks and other defects.

As a reminder, a potentially hazardous dam is any dam on a waterway, or a dam as described under Section 67 (1A) of the Water Act 1989. Your existing licence document will indicate if your dam is on or off a waterway.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action has produced booklets, Your dam your responsibility and Dam safety emergency plan to assist farm dam owners to understand their responsibilities for operating and maintaining farms on their properties. You can find them at the DEECA website, opens in new window.

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Rosters and restrictions

GMW monitors flow in unregulated streams and implements rosters and restrictions when flow decreases below minimum volumes.

You are required by your licence conditions to take water in accordance with any rosters and restriction notifications for your stream. It is an offence to take and use water at a level exceeding any roster or restriction.

GMW’s Rosters and Restrictions webpage provides information for unregulated customers to review the status of their stream at any time. Select a region or catchment, select a stream and view any current restrictions on unregulated water access.

Stream minimum flow requirements are detailed in Unregulated Streams Local Management Rules where a streamflow management plan is in place.

Streams that do not have a specific Local Management Rule have a minimum threshold of three megalitres per day applied. For more information about specific streams, please contact your local Diversion Inspector on 1800 013 357.

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Role of diversions inspectors

Our Diversions team provides services to diverters throughout our entire 68,000km operational area, and private diverters account for more than 50 per cent of our customer base.

The team manages a range of rivers and creeks – both regulated and unregulated – and groundwater management areas.

A vital part of this role involves undertaking resource management and licensing activities for surface and groundwater systems in each region – this helps to ensure all license holders have an equitable share of water.

Other responsibilities include preparing reports that underpin decision-making, planning diversions programs and projects, managing the installation and maintenance of meters, compliance functions, and liaising with customers, other organisations and members of the public to resolve service delivery issues.

All Diversions customer groups are represented by Regional Water Service Committees. These committees play a key role in ensuring local issues are raised with management; as well as contributing to GMW’s strategic planning initiatives.

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Your local Diversions Inspector

Our friendly Diversions operational team members are based at  our Customer Service Centres in Wangaratta, Cobram, Shepparton and Rochester.

Use the map below to find out what diversions zone you are in and the Diversions Inspector responsible for your zone.

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Contact GMW ahead of works on private dams or pump sites

A reminder to please contact your local Diversions Inspector before performing any works (including post flood repairs) on your private dam or pump site.

The Diversions Inspector will discuss your needs with you, and determine if a works licence is required in advance of commencing maintenance or repair activities.

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Keeping our staff safe at work

A photo of a staff member performing maintenance work on a regulator.GMW has a zero tolerance of aggressive behaviour both physically and verbally towards our staff.

Sometimes we are required to undertake emergency maintenance on our assets, which often calls out of hours. Please be understanding of this – our staff have the right to safe workplaces.

Our commitments to you:

  • We will notify you if we need to enter your property out of normal operating hours
  • We will be in GMW uniform
  • Our vehicle will be identifiable - the hazard lights will be on and the vehicle will be branded
  • We will carry identification
  • We will attempt to fix the issue as quickly as possible.

If you have concerns about a person on your property, you can call GMW's emergency number on 1800 064 184 and we will confirm whether they are a GMW employee.

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Key GMW services

Decorative Icon with text MyGMW MyGMW - is our secure online portal used to manage your GMW account online, any time and anywhere.

Go to MyGMW (opens in a new window)

Decorative Icon SMS in speech bubble SMS - services enable you to receive reminders of when your water order is to start and stop. 

Go to WaterLINE Online to subscribe (opens in a new window)

Decorative Icon SMS in speech bubbleOur Dams Email -  provides water storage and dam levels straight to your inbox on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

View GMW's email subscription options.

Storage levels and inflows

You can access up-to-date volume level of all lakes, reservoirs and dams managed by GMW at any time on our Storage Levels pages.

EILDON

91.82%
93.3%
97.5%
95.2%
97.0%
96.3%
99.7%
98.7%
98.1%
97.9%
95.7%
93.0%
91.8%
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr

Your Say @ GMW

It is important that we regularly engage with you, our customers, on topics that matter to you. We want your input, knowledge, thoughts and advice. Visit Your Say @ GMW website (opens in a new window)to register for the latest events and webinars and to find out which projects and topics we’re engaging on with our customers, stakeholders and communities.

Update your details

It’s important we have your details up to date to ensure you receive all the latest news, incident and service interruption information and account reminders from GMW. This includes your address, mobile number and email address. Please use our Update your details online form or call the GMW Customer Experience team on 1800 013 357 for assistance.

Payment options

GMW has a number of flexible payment options available to assist customers in managing their bills including:

  • instalment options
  • early payment discounts
  • flexible payment plans; and
  • payment extensions.

Our team is committed to working with customers to manage their bills. For more information visit our Payment Assistance page or phone the GMW Customer Experience team on 1800 013 357.

Water quality

Water supplied by GMW is not suitable for human consumption without first being properly treated. Human consumption includes  showering,  bathing,  washing,  cooking,  ice making and  drinking.

This includes water supplied at some of our facilities (e.g. parks adjacent to GMW storages).

For more information refer to our Don't drink the water page.

Do the right thing this irrigation season

Take responsibility for your water use.

Please remember:

  • It is illegal to take and use more water than allowed under your entitlement
  • before you take and use water, make sure you:
    • have the right authorisations
    • have enough water available in your entitlement and allow enough time for temporary or permanent trades to be processed
    • check your meter reading and water usage against your licenced volume; and
    • check if restrictions and/or bans apply.
  • it is your responsibility to ensure your ABA balance remains positive throughout the year.

We take a zero-tolerance approach to water theft and will fine customers who take too much water or take water without a water share.

If you see something, say something. To report an alleged offence, you can phone us on 1800 013 357, email compliance@gmwater.com.au or submit an  online form.


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1800 013 357

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24 hours, 7 days a week

1800 064 184

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