Water allocations lifted

More water: Upper Murray flows have contributed to more water for northern Victoria. Photo by Julie Mercer

The Murray Valley district of northern Victoria will get an extra allocation of low-reliability water for this season thanks to higher flows in the upper Murray and Lake Menindee.

The resource manager for northern Victoria has updated the 2021-22 seasonal determinations.

The Murray system increased from 100 per cent of high-reliability water shares (HRWS) and 12 per cent of low-reliability water shares (LRWS) to 100 per cent high-reliability and 72 per cent low.

The Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems remain at 100 per cent high-reliability.

Seasonal determinations in the Broken and Bullarook systems stay at the maximum possible 100 per cent HRWS and 100 per cent LRWS.

Resource manager Mark Bailey said resources in the Murray system continued to improve with rainfall since the previous assessment.

“Continuing flows into the Menindee Lakes and the upper Murray storages are the basis for today’s improvement,” Dr Bailey said.

“Releases to control the level in Lake Hume during December also contributed, with another 105 gigalitres deducted from spillable water accounts.

“After a short pause due to drier weather, the releases from Lake Hume to manage water levels restarted early in January. This means further deductions from Murray spillable water accounts will occur on February 15 when the volume released is confirmed.”

Dr Bailey said the other northern Victorian systems received smaller resource improvements.

“The Goulburn system needs another 480 gigalitres of water before reserves are sufficient for 2022-23 allocations to high-reliability water shares.”

The Bureau of Meteorology seasonal outlook for the February-to-April period does not strongly favour above- or below-average rainfall across eastern parts of northern Victoria and favours slightly drier conditions in the west.

La Niña conditions continue in the tropical Pacific and are expected to remain until early autumn. La Niña conditions increase the likelihood of above-average rainfall totals in south-east Australia.