Waranga Basin reaches early milestone

Friday 3 July, 2020

Recent rainfall across the Goulburn Catchment has allowed Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) to fill Waranga Basin ahead of schedule.

GMW diverted additional water into the off-stream storage during April and early May as rainfall stemmed irrigation demand and increased river flows.

Achieving this milestone early highlights two months of increased rainfall downstream of Eildon with the highest flows seen in 10 years estimated at around 5000 megalitres per day last month (June 16).

GMW Water Resources Manager Mark Bailey said the water will now be held in storage at Waranga Basin until the next irrigation season begins on August 15. 

“This is exactly what we like to see at this time of year, bringing benefits that are two-fold;” Mr Bailey said

“It fuels confidence that we have water available for improved seasonal determinations in the Goulburn system when the season opens with a good likelihood longer term determinations will exceed initial forecasting.

“It also means more water will reach the Murray system, which becomes a Victorian resource under the MDBA accounting rules.”

But Mr Bailey cautioned recreational river users that water levels could rapidly rise and currents could be strong, presenting a danger for those visiting the area. 

“We are getting strong flows downstream of the Goulburn Weir through Murchison and into Shepparton from all the tributaries below Lake Eildon, such as the Acheron and Rubicon rivers as well as the Hughes and Sunday creeks,” Mr Bailey said

“Anyone camping or fishing or planning a school holiday visit should be aware of this potential danger.”

Mr Bailey said since the last seasonal outlook, a more optimistic picture was viable for the Goulburn system and the Murray system was improving. 

“Between now and start of August, we won’t need to put any more water into Waranga Basin,” he said.

“This means inflows for the Goulburn and ultimately the Murray rivers.”