Water forecasts down 10% in three months

By Country News on December 29, 2015

El Nino could be to blame for seasonal determination outlooks that are down by 10 per cent since September.

Every month, northern Victoria resource manager Mark Bailey provides an outlook for the allocations for the Goulburn, Murray, Loddon, Campaspe and Broken systems.

Goulburn-Murray Water River Operations and Planning manager Andrew Fields said conditions were consistent with El Nino.

Mr Fields said farmers received low spring rainfall and extreme temperatures which has contributed to a decrease in the water available in February.

‘‘We aren’t getting enough resources through to get the percentage closer to 100 per cent,’’ Mr Fields said.

‘‘This year we had our sixth driest spring and we just haven’t had enough water.’’

This has meant the allocation is lower than what was expected in September.

Mr Fields said in the Murray system, the dry had been better in some months and had been tracking well.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted this year’s El Nino will continue into autumn next year and is likely to bring lower rainfall.

‘‘If the forecast is correct, soil moisture profiles leading into next year’s season will be low,’’ Commodities expert Jonathan Barratt said.

‘‘The reliance on in-crop rain is more critical than ever, should summer rains fall short of providing substantial moisture.’’

Last week, Goulburn’s biggest water storage, Eildon, was holding 48 per cent capacity, and for Murray, Hume was holding 41 per cent and Dartmouth 52 per cent.

Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister Lisa Neville said while dry conditions were continuing to have a serious impact in parts of the state, Victoria was well placed to cope through the initiatives put in place during and after the millennium drought.

By Country News on December 29, 2015

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