High hopes for rain

By Country News

Farmers on either side of the Victoria-NSW border will be hoping for rain as seasonal determinations start from a low base.

As of July 15, the Murray system was sitting on six per cent, the Broken system was on eight per cent, while the Campaspe was looking much healthier at 31 per cent.

Speaking at Murray Dairy’s Seasonal Update, Goulburn-Murray Water’s Guy Ortlipp explained why the Campaspe system had greater storage levels than the Murray and Broken systems.

‘‘It did open up last season at 100 per cent, which in effect means that any resource improvement we got last season was set aside for this season hence its healthier opening position,’’ he said.

‘‘If we get average conditions in the Murray, we will get to full allocation by mid-February, but a drier scenario we will only get to 43 per cent.’’

Mr Ortlipp said NSW farmers, who were on zero per cent general security allocation, were not likely to see a significant improvement unless an average season occurs.

‘‘If it stays dry it’s not looking good for NSW general security, but if we get a season that is something near what we call average they will get 30 per cent.’’

Mr Ortlipp said there were opportunities to trade water from the Goulburn into the Murray and from NSW to Victoria, but moving water downstream from above the Barmah Choke was closed until back trading occurred.