Allocations rise for Victorian farmers

By Country News

Water allocations in the Murray, Goulburn and Loddon systems in the Goulburn-Murray Water district have increased.

Northern Victoria resource manager Mark Bailey said the Murray system had moved from 84 per cent of high-reliability water shares to 89 per cent.

The Goulburn system and the Loddon system increased from 77 per cent to 82 per cent HRWS.

The seasonal determination in the Broken system increased from 14 per cent to 17 per cent HRWS.

The Campaspe system remained at 100 per cent HRWS and the Bullarook system remained at 100 per cent HRWS and 100 per cent of low-reliability water shares.

Dr Bailey said the change in water availability was assisted by recent rain.

‘‘Although the rain during October fell on relatively dry catchments, the flows into the major storages held or increased slightly,’’ he said.

‘‘Our previous conservative estimates anticipated flows reducing.’’

Dr Bailey said weather conditions would influence any water availability improvements.

‘‘The October rainfall totals were average to below average across much of northern Victoria, with some catchment totals very much below average. Flows into the storages were well below average.

‘‘The catchments are drying and significant rain will be needed to generate large increases in the seasonal determinations in the short term.

‘‘Small improvements will continue if evaporation and river losses remain lower than our estimates, which can occur with some rainfall and cooler temperatures.’’

Dr Bailey said the climate outlooks suggested drier conditions would continue.

‘‘The latest Bureau of Meteorology seasonal outlook indicates below-average rainfall is more likely during the November to January period,’’ he said.

‘‘The bureau has issued an El Niño Alert, meaning the chance of an El Niño forming in 2018 is around 70 per cent and there are signs a positive Indian Ocean Dipole is forming.

‘‘An El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole increases the possibility of dry conditions.’’

Dr Bailey urged water users to continue planning their water needs carefully.

■As of November 1, the NSW Murray general security was still at zero per cent.

The high security figure of 97 per cent also remained stagnant from the October 15 announcement.