Gravity Irrigation Newsletter

Welcome to the Start of Season newsletter for our gravity irrigation customers.

Photograph of Greg ShannonWelcome to the Start of Season newsletter for our gravity irrigation customers. We had a busy winter works period, which delivered an $8 million program of Maintenance and Capital Works and approximately 22,000 hours to enhance the capacity of our irrigation network. Thank you to our staff, contractors and the community throughout this period in delivering another successful winter works program.

By all reports, Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is heading into a busy delivery season. The latest updates from staff on the ground indicate our delivery infrastructure (storages, channels and service points) is now ready for operations from 15 August, which is the start of the gravity irrigation season.

Over the next year, in consultation with our customers, we will develop a Gravity Irrigation Service Plan that will provide long term financial modelling and a greater focus on planning over the next two regulatory periods (2024 – 2032). This is an exciting and critical piece of work. I encourage anyone who would like to get involved to have your say. Please stay tuned for upcoming announcements on our website in the coming months. If you would like to stay in touch with us to find out more on our engagement activities, visit www.gmwater.com.au/yoursay or email communications@gmwater.com.au

While the last 12 months have been a challenging time for many of us, most GMW staff have worked from home since 2020, or started their workday from home. We hope that the opportunities will be more frequent to meet face to face this coming irrigation season.

The team and I are looking forward to assisting you in managing your water needs for the upcoming irrigation season. I wish you all the best for the 2021/22 irrigation season.

Greg Shannon

Manager Distribution Services, GMW

Winter Works wrap up to improve channel delivery

Photograph of machinery undertaking works on a channelOur extensive 2021 Winter Works program has now wrapped up successfully delivering improvements across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID).

The program included submerged aquatic weed control, spraying drains, and improving access and visibility spraying along channel banks and infrastructure, including pump stations, communication towers, outlets and regulators.

This year’s aquatic weed treatment included:

  • Main Channels 5, 6 & 2 in the East area
  • Channels 12/9, 1 and T1/14 in Central area
  • Waranga Western Channel, Main 1 Channel, 2/4/1 Channel, and the 4/1 Channel in the West.

All these channels experienced a rapid increase in weed infestation over summer and into autumn 2021. It also created serious issues for some customers, and for GMW in ensuring a reliable and appropriate level of service when it came to delivering water.

Over three weeks, GMW conducted a large winter herbicide treatment of channels affected with Egeria weed, floating pond weed and ribbon weed infestation. The infestation had significantly restricted flow rates in three main channels by as much as 50 per cent and also increased risks of channels overflowing and damaging automated regulators and other infrastructure.

GMW staff and contractors have also carried out significant de-silting works, and removed weeds manually with excavators.

Electrofishing treatment in the Murray Valley area netted and relocated fish before treatment took place. The technique captured 252 Murray cod, measuring up to 80cm, 113 black fish and 31 yellow belly.  We removed obstructive weeds from more than 55km of channels across the Murray Valley area, with the expectation to result in hundreds of customers experiencing improved water flow rates for the coming irrigation season.

Photograph of machinery undertaking works on a channel

Our People, Our Work - Chris Ryan

Distribution Coordinator East

Photograph of weeds caught on the pylon of a bridgeThis year’s Winter Works program has included a large chemical treatment programme targeting submerged weeds, with about 55km of channel treated in the Murray and Goulburn system.

“Weed restriction has impacted on our level of service in peak demand times and the system has had problems delivering water to the point where we have had to reduce capacity by up to 50 per cent on some channels,” Chris said.

“Along with the desilting works we’ve carried out on 12km of channels, we have been able to get volume and profile back in our channels, which will greatly improve the performance of our automated system.”

The East team has also been planning and setting up for the Water Efficiency Projects (WEP) in Shepparton East, where 2.7km of channel will be decommissioned and 21.6km of channel and 174 outlets will be modernised.

The WEP programme will greatly improve our delivery and service to a large horticultural area in Shepp East, and modernised metres will have huge benefits for both GMW and customers.

Our People, Our Work - Russel Talbot

Field Services Coordinator West

Photograph of fish swimming in a channelOur West team has been working on desilting and restoring capacity to some of our major delivery channels during the winter works period, as well as some weed treatments.

“We anticipate these works will improve delivery with less channel fluctuation, and lower water losses,” Russel said.

“The best part has been working with my team – they’re a new group and most haven’t experienced a full-scale maintenance season before. Seeing them work together to form a well-functioning team and the achievements they’ve made to date with zero safety incidents has been very rewarding.”

But it hasn’t all been desilting and weed treatment.

“We also had an emergency job pop up with native fish dying in one of our channel syphons” Russel said.

“Working with the local Boort Angling Club and Victorian Fisheries Authority, we managed to quickly respond and relocate most of the fish to nearby natural waterways.”

Pricing, charges and fees

Every four years, GMW puts forward a pricing submission outlining annual fees and charges to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) as the independent regulatory authority. From 1 July 2021, a single customer charge was implemented meaning:

  • a uniform pricing for gravity irrigation customers
  • a drop in the Infrastructure Access Fee and Infrastructure Use Fee for gravity irrigation customers
  • a move to system pricing for all water share owners
  • service point fees simplified by treating all meters the same way.

This new pricing submission delivers a fairer deal for all. Customer feedback has indicated the need for a reliable supply, credible business, fair pricing, efficient operations, responsive services and simple systems. You can expect to see this commitment and continuous improvement across all areas of the GMW business.

Customers currently pay a Service Fee for each service they receive from GMW, however the new Customer Fee will replace multiple Service Fees. For more information and details on how your individual bill will change please visit gmwater.com.au/pricing

To help estimate the change in your fees, visit www.gmwater.com.au/pricingsimulator

Interim Goulburn to Murray Trade and Operating Rules

From 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 a new two-part trade rule will come into effect for Goulburn to Murray inter-valley trade.

 

This interim rule is based on the recent public consultation on changes to the trade rule as part of the Goulburn to Murray trade review. The rule will give certainty for the 2021-22 water year, while further testing and analysis of complementary interim operating rules is undertaken over the coming summer.

The new interim operating rules will enable similar volumes of water to be delivered from the Goulburn system, but in a more ecologically sustainable pattern.

The interim operating rules will require base flows averaging 1,100 ML per day – lower than any flows seen in recent years – in between short freshes of water.

More information on how the interim trade rule will work can be found on the Victorian Water Register website at https://www.waterregister.vic.gov.au/about/news/34

Customer Charter

At GMW we believe that our customers deserve the best possible standards of service and we are committed to developing strong relationships with all of our customers.

Our customer charter outlines our commitment to quality customer care and sets the goals for our service standards. You can see our most recent service standard results at our Water Plan page.

For more information, see our Customer Information booklet.

How to be more active in ordering water

Climatic conditions, storage inflows and high demands influence the volume of water held in storage throughout the year. Given the uncertainty surrounding each of these factors, it is important that customers are proactive in ordering water.

To ensure your water is debited against the correct allocation account, please make sure you place your orders on GMW’s ordering system WaterLINE from 15 August. It allows you to place irrigation orders, communicate with us and monitor your water usage based on the allocation and entitlement you hold.

For assistance using WaterLINE online contact GMW on 1800 013 357 during office hours 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday. You can also download our WaterLINE online manual for step-by-step instructions from www.g-mwater.com.au/customer-services/waterline

Water Efficiency Project update

The Water Efficiency Project (WEP) has commenced delivering modernisation and water savings for the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID).

Under the $177 million project, the GMW WEP activities will use off-farm treatments to achieve 15.9GL annual water savings by the end of the project in 2023, while pursuing infrastructure solutions that improve level of service and reduce future asset maintenance costs.

The WEP Winter Works 2021 package have been especially important for Domestic and Stock customers in Shepparton East. Modernisation work has included regulator automation and meter upgrades to implement Total Channel Control across more of the GMID. For more information visit www.g-mwater.com.au/policy-and-projects/water-efficiency-project.

 

Welcome Mitiamo customers

Photograph of water storage for Mitiamo pipelineWe warmly welcome customers across the 58,000 ha area of the newly completed Mitiamo Pipeline, to the GMW system.

Our new customers can now enjoy access to secure, reliable water supply 365 days per year. You are now commissioned and up and running to receive water.

Mitiamo Information

Irrigators' Share Distribution Project

As an irrigation customer, it’s important you receive your benefit of the Irrigators’ Share Distribution.

If you hold delivery share within any of the six irrigation areas of the GMID and contribute to the cost of operating and maintaining the GMID by paying the common Infrastructure Access Fee (IAF), you are eligible to receive a benefit.

For more information visit www.gmwater.com.au/irrigators-share or email the project team ISDProject@gmwater.com.au

2021/22 Seasonal Determinations update

As of Monday 2 August, the Murray system moves from 31 per cent of high-reliability water shares (HRWS) to 46 per cent HRWS. The Goulburn and Loddon systems increase from 37 per cent HRWS to 59 per cent HRWS.

The Campaspe system moves from 23 per cent HRWS to 59 per cent HRWS. The Broken system increases from 8 per cent HRWS to 67 per cent HRWS.

Seasonal determinations in the Bullarook system remain unchanged at 100 per cent HRWS and 100 per cent of low-reliability water shares.

While confirmed carryover volumes and better than assumed flows into the major storages contributed to the increases, final carryover volumes will not be known until early in the new water year. The confirmed volumes were slightly lower than estimated for the July 1 seasonal determinations. This means more water was available for allocation. Also, the catchments are generating good flows into the storages at present. The wet catchments and continued handy rainfall has produced more flow than our conservative estimates so we look forward to continued rain through late winter and spring to boost storage levels and increase the seasonal determinations.

The August to October rainfall outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology favours above average rainfall across the catchments. The Bureau noted that conditions in the Indian Ocean are typical of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole, which could bring above-average rainfall totals. Seasonal determinations under additional scenarios for each system are available from the Northern Victorian Resource Manager website at www.nvrm.net.au/outlooks

Managing your water during peak times

Understanding your water entitlements will help you get the right mix for your irrigation business today and into the future. Your delivery share is an entitlement to have water delivered to your land through the delivery system (channels or pipelines) in an irrigation area. Delivery Shares  are used to share access to the delivery system during periods when total customer orders exceed the available capacity of the delivery system. This ensures all customers receive a fair supply as GMW manages any congestion. During peak times, it is important to manage your water use to avoid using more water than your entitlement of allocation. Here are a few tips to assist:

  • Make sure you have enough water available in your Allocation Bank Account (ABA) and allow enough time for Allocation Trades to be processed.
  • Order your irrigations through WaterLINE.
  • Read your meters regularly and closely monitor your use against entitlement.
  • Check your current usage and entitlement figures regularly. They’re available on WaterLINE at any time or on request from your local GMW office during business hours for regulated water users.

If you are in any doubt, phone the GMW Customer Experience Team on 1800 013 357.

Recreational activities

Our water storages provide entitlements for our major customers – irrigators, stock and domestic users, urban water authorities and environmental water holders. We also recognise recreation as a vital part of what we do – providing many community and regional benefits. We currently maintain recreational infrastructure at 14 of our 24 storages, including the management of safe boating, fishing and other activities.

Our role includes oversight of houseboat licenses and the leasing of caravan parks, clubs and public recreation areas near the foreshore of our storages and waterways.

For more information on our recreation responsibilities, including recreation guides for our most popular storages visit www.g-mwater.com.au/recreation-tourism.  

Photograph of a flotilla of single person boats on the water

General information

Key GMW services

Decorative Icon with text MyGMWMyGMW - Manage your GMW account online, any time and anywhere, through our secure online portal MyGMW.

Access MyGMW

Decorative Icon SMS in speech bubble SMS - The Start and Stop SMS service enables you to receive reminders of when your water order is to start and stop.

SUBSCRIBE TO SMS

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

SUBSCRIBE

WaterLINE and monitoring your usage

All diversions customers have the ability to monitor their seasonal usage through accessing their water records via GMW’s water management system WaterLine. While regulated diverters will be familiar with the use of WaterLine to place or vary orders, groundwater and unregulated customer 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 detail 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.

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 we 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.

Storage levels and inflows

 

EILDON

82.50%

Previous Levels

66.8%
73.1%
80.4%
82.5%
Jul Aug Sep Oct

Here’s a snapshot of some of our major storages and storage levels as at July 2021. You can access up-to-date volume level of all lakes, reservoirs and dams managed by GMW at any time. 

View Current Storage Levels

Your Say @ GMW

It is important that we regularly engage with you, our customers, on topics that matter to you.

Our 2021 Customer Engagement Program includes online webinars, seminars, events and surveys. We want your input, knowledge, thoughts and advice.

Visit www.g-mwater.com.au/your-say-at-gmw  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 throughout 2021.

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.

You can update your details online at www.gmwater.com.au/updateyourdetails or call the GMW Customer Experience Team for assistance.

Payment options

GMW has a number of flexible payment options available to assist customers in managing theor bills.

These include:

  • 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 www.g-mwater.com.au/customer-services/manage-my-account/payment-assistance or phone the GMW Customer Experience Team on 1800 013 357.

Water quality

Water provided by GMW has not been treated for human consumption.

Ordering water

A reminder for our regulated diverter customers that they must order water before using it, and use must accurately reflect the flow rate and ordered duration. Without placing an order, you are taking water without authority and may be subject to penalties under the Water Act. It is illegal to take and use more water than allowed under your entitlement. Please ensure you have the right authorisations before taking water from a dam, bore, stream, river or creek. To find out more or to report an alleged offence, visit www.gmwater.com.au/compliance

Placing an order for water also means we are able to accurately account for how much water was used if a meter fails. For more information phone our Diversions team on 1800 013 357, or visit www.g-mwater.com.au/water-resources/diversions

Compliance and water theft

It’s illegal to take and use more water than allowed under your entitlement. Whenever a little more water is taken than is allowed, it can easily add up and there is limited water to go around. Water theft affects everyone in our community and it is important that individual water users do not adversely impact other users or Victoria’s environmental values. Individual water users should make sure they have the right authorisations before they take water from a dam, bore, stream, river, creek or irrigation channel.

A zero-tolerance to water theft provides equity of access to limited water resources and protects those who are doing the right thing. If you see something, say something. To report an alleged breach/offence, phone us on 1800 013 357. For more information on compliance and enforcement at GMW visit www.gmwater.com.au/compliance.

 

Talk to us

8 am to 4.45 pm, Monday to Friday

1800 013 357

For all emergencies

24 hours, 7 days a week

1800 064 184

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