Gravity Irrigation Customer Newsletter

Tuesday 30 April, 2024

A message from Manager Distribution Services Greg Shannon

Photograph of Greg Shannon

Welcome to the 2024 end of season newsletter for our Gravity Irrigation and Domestic and Stock customers.

With the autumn demand period almost behind us, it’s time for customers to look ahead and consider carrying over any of their unused water allocation.

Carrying over water is a useful tool to manage your water – find out more about how carryover works below.

With the end of season nearing, our teams are now getting ready for our Winter Works program – this annual program sees important capital and maintenance works undertaken across our region to ensure we can continue to deliver water to customers efficiently and effectively.

It also means that GMW does not guarantee the supply of water in the irrigation off-season, so consider filling your on-farm storage now to secure a winter supply.

I hope you find the information in this newsletter helpful for planning ahead of the end of season. As always, our Customer Experience team and area office staff are available to help you manage your GMW account and water needs – phone us on 1800 013 357.

Thank you for a successful 2023/24 season, and we look forward to supporting you in the 2024/25 season ahead.

Greg Shannon
Manager Distribution Services

Table of contents

Contacting us during the irrigation shutdown

During the irrigation shutdown (May 16 to August 14), our Water Systems Operators are not rostered on for planning and monitoring.

Messages left via WaterLINE will be reviewed periodically.

Our Contact Centre will be on hand for all other needs during this period and can be reached by phoning 1800 013 357.

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Important dates

  • May 10 - Last day to submit water orders to ensure delivery
  • May 15 - End of gravity irrigation season
  • May 24 - Final submissions for temporary transfer of groundwater applications; last day to submit land applications and delivery share applications
  • June 14 - Last day to submit water share applications (must be submitted by 5:00pm)
  • June 17 - Last day to submit interstate allocation trades (must be submitted by 5:00pm)
  • June 21 - Final season meter reads to be entered for Diversions customers
  • June 21 - Last day to submit manual applications to trade or relinquish allocations (must be submitted by 5:00pm)
  • June 28 - Last day to submit online applications to trade or relinquish allocations via MyWater 
  • June 28, 5:00pm - Victorian Water Register, including MyWater and the broker portal closes for end of year processing
  • July 1, 8:30am - Victorian Water Register, including MyWater and the broker portal re-opens
  • July 16 - Last day to pay end of season accounts
  • August 15 - First day of the new irrigation season

GMW provides water entitlement holders with information about their end of irrigation season options as a courtesy. Customers are responsible for ensuring they undertake the necessary steps to carry over, use, sell or relinquish their unused water allocation before the appropriate deadlines.

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Variable charge accounts

A photo of a Regulator walkway structureInterim variable charge accounts have recently been sent to customers who have used more than 20 megalitres as at 12 March 2024. These accounts are due on 24 May 2024.

End of season variable charge accounts will be issued in June.    

Phone us on 1800 013 357 for assistance.

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Consider carrying over your water by 28 June 2024

A photo of water flowing through a flume gateCustomers can carryover their unused water allocation from one irrigation season, to the next based on the local carryover rules.

Carrying over water means that unused allocation is available to use or trade at the start of the season. This option is open to those in the Broken, Bullarook, Campaspe, Goulburn, Loddon and Murray systems.

For entitlements held in the Goulburn and Campaspe systems customers need to factor returning spillable water allocation into their carryover planning for 2024/25.

If you have unused water you wish to carryover, it’s important to link your allocation account to a water share, limited term transfer of a water share, or supply by agreement before 28 June 2024.

For more information about carryover, calculating, using, trading or relinquishing water allocations, you can:

For further information on water trading, please visit our Water Trading webpage.

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Plan for your winter water needs

The 2023/24 irrigation season will finish on 15 May 2024.

During the irrigation off-season, GMW lowers and dewaters channels to enable the crucial maintenance of our channel network. This maintenance, including desilting and weed removal, assists with the delivery of water during high demand periods. 

Throughout this time, we cannot guarantee that you will have access to water from the channel network for domestic and stock or irrigation purposes. Your channel could be drawn down (meaning maintenance works are happening) at any time during the winter period.

Interactive maps of maintenance works will be available on our website closer to the irrigation shutdown period.

We encourage our gravity irrigation and domestic and stock customers to plan ahead for their winter water needs and consider filling their dams and tanks before 10 May 2024 to guarantee a winter water supply.

For more information, including any questions you have, please phone our Customer Experience team on 1800 013 357 and they will connect you to a customer service team member in your area.

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Spillable water accounts

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. end April), 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

A photo of the Goulburn Weir walkwayAbove 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

Please note – once these charges have been raised, we will request them to be paid prior to the approval of a water share transfer.

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Our people, our work

A photo of Luke, Water Systems OperatorLuke, Water Systems Shift Supervisor

As the 2023/24 irrigation season draws to a close, the Water Systems Operations team has been busy preparing the channel systems for the autumn demand.

“Over the past couple of months, we have been conducting service point testing, identifying potential capacity restrictions, and managing our supplement storages,” Luke said.

“Our team has also been preparing the system for the upcoming winter works program by dewatering channels.”

Along with the end of season tasks, Luke has been building his knowledge and conducting tests within the system.

“Lately, I have been delving deeper into our system configuration space. This involves tasks such as linking customer allocation accounts (ABAs) to their service points, and making necessary additions, removals, and edits to our schematics,” Luke said.

“I’ve also been involved in testing new features to see if they’re suitable for integration into our systems.”

This work provides Luke with the opportunity to enhance his skills within this area which has great benefits.

“By updating our system schematics to accurately reflect any changes occurring in the field, we ensure better operational efficiency and accuracy in our asset management, which leads to better outcomes for our customers,” Luke said.

When preparing for the new irrigation season, the Water Systems Operations team’s primary goal is to refill of the channel network so customers can access water by 15 August.

“To gear up for the start of season, we identify any customer service point or regulator faults and organise any repair work to minimise customer interruptions,” Luke said.  

And what does Luke find most rewarding about his job?

“It’s great to be part of the team responsible for managing GMW's automated system,” Luke said.

“Contributing to the operation and optimisation of our infrastructure to deliver reliable services to our customers is very fulfilling.”

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Pyramid Hill GMW office closure

GMW will close its Pyramid Hill customer service centre from 28 June 2024 and services will be transitioned to the Kerang customer service centre.

The Pyramid Hill customer service centre has been an appointment-only centre since 2022.

The Kerang customer service centre is located at 78 Kerang-Koondrook Rd, Kerang and is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

While people are welcome to drop-in, booking an appointment is encouraged by:

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Meter readings starting soon

GMW will soon be undertaking meter readings to verify your water usage, which will be listed on your end of season account.

GMW carries out meter readings during May and June, so you may see a GMW employee on your property around this time.

All GMW vehicles are clearly marked and our staff will have identification to verify who they are.

The end of season is also a timely reminder to ensure you are taking responsibility for your water usage.

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 – you must place an order
    • have enough water available in your allocation account 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.

GMW takes a zero-tolerance approach to water theft.

To report an alleged offence, you can call GMW on 1800 013 357, email compliance@gmwater.com.au or submit an online form.

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Lake Eildon assessment published

A photo of the Jerusalem Creek Marina at Lake EildonFollowing the October 2022 floods, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) engaged Hydrology and Risk Consulting (HARC) to undertake a technical assessment of Lake Eildon.

The assessment was designed to determine if changing the operating arrangements could improve protection for downstream communities from future flooding and the associated financial and non-financial implications of such changes.

DEECA published the assessment in March.

More information about the assessment can be found on DEECA’s website (opens in new window)

The assessment will be available to local councils and CMAs when delivering flood studies and reviewing flood mitigation options in their local area.

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Beware of blue-green algae

A photo of the Blue-Green Algae at Bonnie DoonStay up to date with the latest blue-green algae warnings in your area. This is important in the lead up to the end of the irrigation season especially if you are planning to fill on-farm storage.

While blue-green algae is always present in low levels in all waterbodies, slow flowing and stagnant waters provide ideal conditions for algae to grow. As a result, channels that do not flow regularly are more susceptible to excessive algae growth.

GMW manages thousands of kilometres of irrigation channels and it is not possible to test every channel.  You should observe on your channel and if you suspect there is blue-green algae present, it is recommended you find an alternative supply for domestic and stock use.

We do not guarantee the quality of water and it is not fit for any use that involves human consumption, either directly or indirectly, without first being properly treated.

For more information head to our Blue-green algae page.

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Don't drink the water

GMW supplies raw (untreated) water for irrigation, stock and domestic purposes. The quality of the water can vary due to a variety of factors such as algal levels, land uses, changes in flow, floods and drought.

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.

Collective entitlement holders should advise their customers/users that the water supplied is non-potable (i.e. not for human consumption), particularly if they run accommodation premises or food businesses, or if the general public has access to the water (e.g. through a public tap).

More information can be found at our Water Quality page.

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Price Submission 2024-2028 update

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) provided its Draft Determination for the GMW Price Submission 2024-28 on 26 March 2024.

The ESC found that GMW’s extensive customer engagement helped inform the Price Submission, and that the Price Submission presented clear and comprehensive information to support its proposals.

The Draft Determination recommends some minor amendments which GMW will work through in the coming months.

The Draft Determination is open for public feedback until 7 May 2024, with the final decision on prices to be released by the ESC in June 2024.

For more information, or to view the Draft Determination, please head to the ESC website (opens in new window).

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GMW engages new debt collection partner

GMW is encouraging customers to be proactive in managing any outstanding bills and reminding them of supports available if they are experiencing financial hardships.

GMW has recently partnered with CollectAU (opens in new window), an external debt collection organisation that has extensive experience working with the water industry.

Recognising the past few years have been challenging, GMW wants to support customers to find solutions to manage their debt levels.

Therefore, in the next few weeks, following the issue of reminder and final notices, customers who have outstanding debt may be referred to CollectAU.

CollectAU will then work with these customers to determine next steps and options, including setting up repayment options.

Please be aware that if the debt remains unpaid, GMW may suspend a customer’s water supply and take further action.

More information is available at the GMW website.

Customers experiencing financial hardship should phone GMW’s Customer Experience team on 1800 013 357 to discuss options that may be available to assist them, or visit our Payment Assistance page.

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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.

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 bubble Our 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

86.90%
97.0%
96.3%
99.7%
98.7%
98.1%
97.9%
95.7%
93.0%
91.1%
90.2%
88.8%
86.9%
Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul

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

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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1800 064 184

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