On track to another year of positive water availability

Tuesday 12 April, 2022

We are on track to delivering more water across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) this season than previous years.

As of March 24, GMW had delivered about 727GL for the 2021-22 year, about 64GL more than the same time last year.

Our Murray customers have received the full allocation of low-reliability water shares for the first time since unbundling in 2007. While this is a significant achievement, we recognise that spills from Lake Hume have also impacted on the carryover holdings for most Murray entitlement holders.

Our customers in the other systems are enjoying a full allocation of high-reliability water shares, with Broken and Bullarook customers also receiving the full 100 per cent of low-reliability water shares.

After the wet spring and summer conditions, the demand for irrigation has been high due to dry weather, plentiful water and the prospect of good autumn growth. We have been managing the channels to optimise the capacity of the channel system for customers.

Deliveries are increasing as expected with the volume of water available. Water from the Loddon supplement has been used to support irrigation demand in Loddon Valley.

I must praise our irrigators in the Loddon Valley for their co-operation during what has been a challenging season.

Ordering their water in advance as well as their willingness to be accommodating and flexible with their delivery times has been invaluable and we thank them for their support.

We are observing similar customer behaviour in Murray Valley, which also deserves our thanks.

Looking ahead, the end of the irrigation season is just over a month away, so we are advising customers to plan now for the three-month winter shutdown.

Our first reminder is to ensure that you have enough on-farm storage to meet your domestic and stock needs for the shutdown. We have a large works program planned and we cannot guarantee that water will be available in all parts of the gravity network.

Secondly, customers have plenty of water in their accounts after the wettest season for many years, and they need to start considering their plans for carryover of unused allocation into 2022-23.

When looking at their current holdings, customers should consider the outlook for seasonal determinations and longer range predictions when planning their carryover.

All systems should receive 100 per cent of their high-reliability water shares in 2022-23 under average inflow conditions.

And although it’s too early to determine if allocations of low-reliability water shares will be available in the Murray again next season, wetter conditions will increase the chances both there and in the Goulburn system.

Customer should beware that the Goulburn and Murray systems have a greater than 50 per cent chance of spilling in 2022-23. This means any water moved into spillable water accounts due to new allocations could be diminished if the storages spill and a low risk of spill has not been declared.

I encourage all customers to take responsibility for management of any unused water and carefully consider the best option for their business.

This includes using your unused water before May 15 for customers in the GMID or June 30 for our diversion customers, carrying over water into the next irrigation season, selling, trading or relinquishing water.

By choosing to carry-over, customers will have access to water early next season when the gravity system reopens on August 15 and from July 1 for customers who divert water directly from rivers.

We appreciate our customers have a business to run so we want to make their lives easier by providing them with relevant and up-to-date information.

There is also new information on spillable water - what it means and how you can calculate it - available on our website at www.gmwater.com.au

Alternatively, you can contact our Customer Experience Team on 1800 013 357 and our staff would be more than happy to help you.

This season has provided an excellent boost to water storages across our region.

Although the seasonal rainfall forecasts are not favouring either wetter or drier conditions at the moment, we are well on the way to another year of positive water availability for our region and our future.

Charmaine Quick,

GMW Managing Director