Small lift in allocations

By Country News

Marginal increases in water allocations in northern Victoria were announced last week.

Northern Victoria resource manager Mark Bailey announced the Goulburn and Loddon systems increased from 93 per cent high-reliability to 94 per cent.

The seasonal determination in the Broken system increased from 30 per cent to 32 per cent.

The Murray and Campaspe systems remain at 100 per cent, and the Bullarook system remains at 100 per cent and 100 per cent of low-reliability water shares.

Dr Bailey said there was only a small water availability improvement.

‘‘Conditions have been hot and dry since the last assessment, with no rain to provide an immediate boost to resource availability,’’ he said.

‘‘However, the flows into the storages from the rain in December declined more slowly than anticipated and provided a small volume of additional resource to allocate.’’

Dr Bailey said climate outlooks for rainfall favoured slightly drier conditions.

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

‘‘The bureau has issued an El Niño alert. While temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean are above El Niño thresholds, conditions in the atmosphere are not consistent with an El Niño.

‘‘Based on the Pacific Ocean indicators, it would be unusual but not impossible for an El Niño to form during the summer months.’’

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

‘‘Websites such as the Resource Manager (www.nvrm.net.au), the Victorian Water Register (www.waterregister.vic. gov.au) and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (www.mdba.gov.au) provide information about water trends and availability, which can help users plan their use,’’ he said.