G-MW meets high demand

By Country News

Goulburn-Murray Water delivered more than two million megalitres of water to customers in the 2017-18 season, which finished on May 15.

The season’s deliveries of 2047000Ml were the highest since the 2014-15 season, when more than 2058000Ml of water was delivered.

The amount of water delivered this season across all G-MW systems is the equivalent of 60 per cent of Lake Eildon’s total storage capacity.

By the end of the season, more than 231000Ml had been delivered to the Murray Valley area; 282000Ml to the Torrumbarry area; 127000Ml to the Shepparton area; 315000Ml to the Central Goulburn area; 166000Ml to the Rochester area; 191000Ml to the Loddon Valley area; and 733000Ml to regulated river diverters across the G-MW operational area.

G-MW managing director Pat Lennon said the water delivery consultants, field officers and customer support staff had worked hard to meet the challenge of a high-demand season.

‘‘A huge volume of water has gone through our system to be delivered to our customers in the 2017-18 season, and we’ve met this logistical challenge with very few issues, it’s a testament of the effort put in by our staff,’’ Mr Lennon said.

G-MW customer operations manager Scott Barber said a high-demand season put pressure on the system in a number of ways, and as with most years the demand for irrigation increased in autumn.

‘‘The sheer volume of water going through our weirs, rivers and channels to meet demand results in significant pressure on our channel network — not just the infrastructure but also the ability to deliver the correct volume of water ordered at the requested time,’’ Mr Barber said.

‘‘The demand for irrigation water increases during autumn, which is traditionally a high water use period, and this year was no exception with some channel congestion occurring in isolated parts of the network during April as the demand for irrigation water increased.

‘‘When demand started to exceed channel delivery capacity our customers responded well by placing their water orders as early as possible, and if required, worked with our staff to alter their water orders to help maximise channel capacity.’’

Northern Victoria resource manager Mark Bailey said the 2017-18 season had been dry and low rainfall had an impact on storage inflows. A prolonged dry spell in the opening months of 2018 led to a dry season, with large areas of Victoria recording rainfalls well below the average.

The Bureau of Meteorology proclaimed Victoria had the driest April since 1997, with the monthly rainfall totaling 68.5 per cent below the long-term mean of 51mm.

The dry conditions translated into below-average inflows to the major G-MW storages.

Most of the storages have received less than 50 per cent of the long-term mean. Up until the end of April, Lake Eildon received above the long-term mean at almost 850000Ml in inflows, which is 71 per cent of the long-term mean.

The 2018-19 season will begin on August 15.