Gravity Irrigation Newsletter

Monday 29 November, 2021

A message from Manager Distribution Services Greg Shannon.

Photograph of Greg ShannonWelcome to our spring / summer newsletter for Gravity Irrigation customers. You will already be familiar with our start of season and end of season newsletters each year. We are now moving to quarterly newsletters sent by email (e-newsletters) to help you stay up to date with important information about your GMW services and what’s happening across our region. It has already been a busy start to the irrigation season, and good rainfall has led to seasonal determinations reaching 100 per cent high-reliability water shares in all systems – a great outcome for our customers.

The Bureau of Metrology has also declared a La Niña. There is now potential for above average spring and summer rainfall – something which I’m sure our customers are considering when planning their summer and autumn irrigation requirements.

We received a positive response to our Gravity Irrigation Service Plan online survey in September with 165 responses. Thank you to all of our gravity irrigation customers who participated. These Service Plans will outline how we manage services into the future, align with our resilience principles, underpin a prosperous region, and ensure our business is financially and environmentally sustainable into the future. You can see a summary of key themes at our Service Plans page.

We are now commencing the next phase of engagement for the Gravity Irrigation Service Plan – customer focus groups. The focus groups will be held in the last week of November and first week of December. During the sessions we will discuss feedback from the recent online survey and “deep dive” into the key themes. For more information visit www.gmwater.com.au/yoursay or email communications@gmwater.com.au

With the festive season almost upon us, on behalf of the GMW Water Delivery team I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and safe and prosperous 2022. We look forward to seeing you in person next year!

Greg Shannon
Manager Distribution Services, GMW

Ordering water

With the irrigation season now in full swing, it’s important that you use WaterLINE to order your water.

Climatic conditions, storage inflows and customer demands influence the volume of water held in storage throughout the year.

Given the uncertainty surrounding each of these factors, it is important to be proactive in ordering water.

Using WaterLINE will also ensure your water is debited against the correct allocation account.

For assistance using WaterLINE, call us on 1800 013 357 during office hours. You can also download our WaterLINE online manual for step-by-step instructions.

For more information and to access WaterLINE, go to www.gmwater.com.au/waterline

Seasonal determination and outlook

The Resource Manager for northern Victoria released an update to the 2021/22 seasonal determinations on Monday 15 November 2021.

The Murray, Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems remain at 100 per cent of high-reliability water shares (HRWS).

Seasonal determinations in the Broken and Bullarook systems stay at 100 per cent HRWS and 100 per cent of low-reliability water shares (LRWS).

Resource Manager Mark Bailey said continued strong flows into the major storages were adding to 2022/23 reserves.

“Our immediate priority is to secure enough water to support the seasonal determinations to high-reliability water shares in 2022/23,” Dr Bailey said.

“This action considers what is in storage now plus the statistical flows into the storages that occur 99 years in every 100 for the remainder of 2021/22 and into 2022/23.

“Effective 15 November 2021, the Murray system needs another 410 gigalitres of water before reserves are sufficient for 2022/23 allocations to high-reliability water shares and any seasonal determination to low-reliability water shares this year can occur. The volume needed in the Goulburn system is 530 gigalitres.

“These volumes can be reached through a combination of further inflows and tributary flows into the major river systems lowering this year’s commitments.

“Further deductions from Murray spillable water accounts are also contributing, About 37 gigalitres, or 35 per cent of the current spillable account volume, will be deducted with today’s announcement and go towards the reserve.

“Further deductions should be expected at the next December 2021 seasonal determination update after the Murray-Darling Basin Authority commenced releases on 10 November to manage Lake Hume close to its full supply level.”

For more information, go to https://nvrm.net.au/seasonal-determinations/current

Goulburn to Murray Trade Rule Operating Plan

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has released the Goulburn to Murray trade rule operating plan for delivering water from the Goulburn Inter-Valley Trade (IVT) account to the Murray. This plan has been released to support the implementation of the interim Goulburn to Murray operating and trade rules that were introduced on 1 July 2021.

On 15 December 2021, the summer-autumn trade cap will be announced and net trade will be capped to enable the IVT account balance to be drawn down for the remainder of the year. This is critical to support the following year’s trade for water users.

While the summer-autumn cap is in effect, further trade opportunity from the Goulburn to the Murray will only be available if there is back-trade into the Goulburn. Trade will not be made available as river operators deliver water to the Murray. Instead, the IVT account balance will be drawn down so that more trade is available from 1 July 2022.

More information including a fact sheet explaining how water will be delivered and how this creates trade opportunity is available at the Victorian Water Register website.

Agriculture Victoria will hold a webinar on Goulburn inter-valley trade and Murray shortfall risks on Tuesday 7 December 2021 at 1pm - you can register via Zoom.

Our People, Our Work: Carolyn Nigro – Drainage Program Coordinator

Carolyn joined GMW in 1999 and has worked across a number of teams before using her extensive experience in her current role as Drainage Program Coordinator.

Over the last few years Carolyn has played a vital role in managing a number of projects, including the Upper Deakin, Cornella Creek and Guilfus Congupna Drainage Course Declarations and obstruction removal programs. These projects, funded by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA), involved removing obstructions to natural drainage lines to help our customers with improved drainage and farm productivity.

Growing up on a fourth generation farming family in Tongala has helped Carolyn to understand and work with GMW’s customers.

“Growing up on a local farm and being embedded in the community provides personal experience of the challenges our customers face, and how our work can really make a difference,” Carolyn said.
“Building relationships with customers is certainly rewarding, and bumping into them down the street and knowing we’ve helped them is really satisfying.”

 

Irrigators’ Share Distribution update

Last month nearly 7000 delivery share holders in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) received water shares as part of the Irrigators’ Share Distribution. This is a significant milestone for the Irrigators’ Share Distribution and the Connections Project; Australia’s largest irrigation modernisation.

The distribution of these water shares was made possible after a long process that started in 2008, when irrigators called for the modernisation of irrigation infrastructure and federal and state governments provided $2 billion to fund the Connections Project. The Connections Project delivered works that achieved 429 GL long-term average annual yield (LTAAY) of water recovery in October 2020. Starting last month, 77 GL, which was determined to be the irrigators’ share, is now being returned to irrigators.

At census date (1 October 2021) it was confirmed that eligible delivery share holders will receive:

  Volume to be issued per 1 ML/day of delivery share
  Goulburn system Murray system
High reliability water share  4.00 ML 3.97 ML
Low reliability water share 2.21 ML 2.37 ML



Delivery share holders will receive an equal share of long-term water recovery related to the volume of delivery share they hold, however their volume of high and low-reliability water shares will be different based on the system where they hold delivery share. Information on why the water share volumes are different can be found on the GMW website.

Water shares or financial benefits

Anyone who held delivery share in any of the six areas of the GMID on 1 October 2021 and is charged the common infrastructure access fee is eligible to receive either water shares or financial benefits.
For delivery share holders with 0.25ML/day or more, water shares and seasonal allocations were issued from 16 October.

About 6000 eligible delivery share holders with less than 0.25ML/day are set to receive their benefit as a credit on their fixed charges bill from GMW in July 2022.

Revised fixed accounts

If you received water shares as part of the Irrigators’ Share Distribution last month, this month you will receive an amended fixed charges account. This account covers the Entitlement Storage Fees associated with the new water entitlements.

Eligible customers with less than 0.25 ML/day of delivery shares will receive a credit to their account in time for their 2022 fixed charges account.
Delivery share rates are listed under the Infrastructure Access Fee charge on your fixed charges accounts.

For more information, go to our Irrigators’ Share Distribution Project webpage, phone us on 1800 013 357, or email ISDProject@gmwater.com.au

Spillable water accounts

In the Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe systems, if the volume of allocation you carried over plus what you received from this year’s seasonal determination is greater than the volume of your high and low-reliability water shares, then the volume above your water share is transferred into a spillable water account.

Allocation held in spillable water accounts is not available for use or trade until the risk of spill in your particular system falls below 10 per cent. Deductions from spillable water accounts occur when Lake Hume, Lake Eildon or Lake Eppalock spill or water is released keep the storage level close to full.

The risk of spill during 2021/22 in the Goulburn and Campaspe systems is less than 10 per cent. In the Murray system, the Murray Darling Basin Authority have been managing releases from Lake Hume to maintain the storage close the full supply level since August. This has meant customers with allocation in spillable water accounts have will have seen deductions from those accounts. So far, about 292,000 ML has been deducted from spillable water accounts in the Murray system.

GMW Customer Charter

Our 2021 Customer Charter is available for download from our Customer Charter webpage.

The Charter outlines our commitment to quality customer care, and sets the goals for our service standards – the services you can reasonably expect to receive, and the standards against which GMW’s performance can be judged.

It also provides you with important information about the rights and responsibilities of customers and GMW, as regulated by the Essential Services Commission (ESC).

If you have any questions about the services you receive from GMW, please call the GMW Customer Experience team on 1800 013 357 or email reception@gmwater.com.au

 

Stock on channels

Cattle on a channelRemember to keep your stock off irrigation channel banks.

Allowing stock to drink from channels, rather than from a trough, can do significant damage to channel banks. This includes reduction in soil health and water quality, and the loss of instream habitats.
If stock damage on channel banks is identified, one of our Field Officers will speak to you to ensure damage does not reoccur.

Any stock damage that occurs after you have been contacted will be repaired by GMW, at your expense.

Repairing channel banks can be costly, which can impact on customer prices. All irrigators benefit from our channels being in good condition, and we all play a role in maintaining them.
We ask for your cooperation in this matter and avoid stock drinking directly from channels.

If you have any questions, please phone our Customer Experience Team on 1800 013 357.

Weed maintenance

WeedThis year our winter maintenance period saw a large aquatic weed control program delivered across all irrigation areas.

Great results have been experienced so far with these treatments, which will help maintain the efficiency of our irrigation delivery network.

Our planned annual spray programs run year round, however the winter program maintenance period allow us to treat submerged weed with chemical, dewatering or by means of desilting.

If you are aware of an area in our region which requires weed treatment, please call us on 1800 013 357 or mention it to your Water Systems Operator when ordering water – this information is vital in helping us to plan our yearly maintenance program.

 

Water safety and hot weather

With the end of the school year coming up and the warmer weather here to stay, we are reminding children, family and the community to stay safe around irrigation channels and creeks in our district.
While swimming in a channel may be tempting on a hot day, it is dangerous thanks to a range of hidden risks – strong undercurrents, hidden pipes, weeds and debris, gates that can open and close quickly, and submerged trees, sandbars and rocks.

You can find more information at our Don’t Swim in Channels page.

A much better place to swim is one of our many water storages which attract thousands of people each year!

Our Water Smarts campaign highlights the risks and hazards we regularly see on our water storages – it’s important for recreation users to look out for their own safety and the safety of others in our care.
More information on how to stay safe on the water is available at our Water Smarts page.

Finally, while not an official part of GMW’s remit, we know that our snake friends will be out and about this year after a big mouse season. When you’re out and about on your property, or visiting any of GMW’s storages, be aware that snakes may be on the move in the area.

People skiing behind a boat

Understanding the risk of shortfall in the lower Murray

While the risk of shortfall is currently negligible, it is important to understand the risk in the lower Murray and how it affects you.

Shortfalls can occur when water available in the storage dams cannot be delivered to meet all the demands of customers at the time they need it.

There has always been a risk that during peak demand periods on the River Murray, water may not be able to be delivered to meet all demand downstream of the Barmah Choke. It takes about three weeks to deliver water from Hume Dam to Sunraysia.

GMW is working closely with the Victorian Government and the MDBA and other states to manage these delivery challenges in the River Murray.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) manages the River Murray System, with input from GMW and Lower Murray Water, to minimise the risk of shortfalls by regularly reviewing forecast demands, climate and flows and adjusting operations such as the timing of releases from Lake Victoria and Menindee Lakes, as well as from the Goulburn and Murrumbidgee Rivers.

For more information on shortfall risks, as well as what is happening on the River Murray and what is being done to manage the flows, go to our Delivery shortfall and Barmah Choke webpage.

Murray River

Water use compliance

In August 2019, Victoria passed the Water and Catchments Legislative Amendment Act 2019 (Amendment Act) that strengthens penalties and enforcement measures and makes it easier to prosecute offences. The Amendment Act has:

  • increased the maximum fine for intentional water theft and related offences if they cause substantial harm, to $990,000 for companies and $198,000 for individuals,
  • allowed for the suspension or cancellation of licences for taking water and works, and
  • enabled water corporations to issue penalty infringement notices for less serious offences.

With tougher penalties and new enforcement measures, the Amendment Act makes it clear offences such as misuse of water or water theft will be addressed seriously.

New penalty infringement notices for water theft and other offences

New regulations are in place to enable GMW to fine water users for water theft and other offences by issuing penalty infringement notices (PINs).

These are in place as part of Victoria’s Zero Tolerance to Unauthorised Take of Non-Urban Water, which supports equity of access to our limited water resources. Ensuring that everyone adheres to the terms of their water entitlements protects those who are doing the right thing.

GMW is proactively monitoring customer account balances, identifying even small volumes of water theft and enabling a swift compliance and enforcement response.

Under the Water Act 1989 (the Act), you are responsible for adhering to the conditions of your licence. Whist most people are responsible and abide by their licence conditions, each year a small number of users break the law.

Water theft affects everyone in your community and it is important that individual water users do not adversely impact other users or Victoria’s environmental values.

Be aware that from 2022 you may be fined if you do not follow the terms of your licence and adhere to your entitlement.

More information can be found at www.gmwater.com.au/compliance

Fixed charges bill reminder

A reminder that if paying in full, your fixed charges account will be due on Tuesday 16 December 2021.

If you chose to pay your account in eight instalments from 16 September, your instalments will be due on the 16th of each month, with the final payment due 16 April 2022.

We can also offer other options to pay your bill, including:

  • Flexible payment plans
  • Payment extensions
  • Direct debit instalments
  • Information about government pensioner concessions
  • Information about accredited financial and health support


If you would like more information about our flexible payment plans, please call the GMW Customer Experience Team on 1800 013 357.

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.

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Storage levels and inflows

 

EILDON

86.11%

Previous Levels

84.4%
87.2%
86.8%
86.1%
Oct Nov Dec Jan

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.

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.

 

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1800 013 357

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1800 064 184

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