Northern Victoria shows resiliency in dry conditions

Friday 19 October, 2018

The regulated rivers, catchments and storages managed by Victoria’s largest rural water authority are showing their resilience to the dry conditions gripping other parts of Australia.

Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) manages about 70 per cent of Victoria’s stored water resources and the country’s largest irrigation delivery network. Like much of the prime production regions of eastern Australia, it is facing a dry outlook for the remainder of spring and early summer. 

GMW Interim Managing Director Bill Jaboor said the water reserves established over the last few seasons have contributed to water security for all entitlement holders, including those in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

“Our astute customers, primarily made up of the farmers who provide food and fibre for us all, are increasingly taking advantage of seasonal carryover and other water management options to make the most of the region’s most precious resource,” Mr Jaboor said. 

“With the volume of water available to use this season, GMW is currently well placed to meet the demands of our entitlement holders as they arise.” 

The dry conditions have seen a high and steady demand for water since the gravity irrigation season opened on August 15.

“Irrigators realise the benefits of early season watering to set up their annual production and the combination of water reserves, carryover and access to the water market has enabled this.” 

Mr Jaboor said it was important to remember that the seasonal outlook favoured drier than normal conditions and interstate drought declarations just north of the River Murray and beyond were impacting on the price of water.

“The Northern Victoria Resource Manager reported on October 15 that Victoria has experienced the second driest September since records began and the climate outlook suggests the dry conditions will continue,” Mr Jaboor said.

“We are also acutely aware drought conditions in other parts of the country - where there has been no rain of any significance for some time - have been impacting heavily on many producers. We encourage support for those doing it tough.” 

Mr Jaboor said perspective, however, was important.

“GMW is working with new investors who recognise the advantages offered in operating in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District and are keen to expand their agricultural activities. 

“We also remain grateful for how our stored water supplies have held up and remain committed to delivering this precious resource as efficiently as possible in the coming months.”