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Key Water Blog

2019/2020 Outlook – April 2019

15th April

South Australia

The projected minimum, or worst case, opening irrigation
allocation for the 2019-20 water year is 14 percent.

Click here to read the announcement

 

Murrumbidgee

Key information
• This outlook for the likely 1 July 2019 water availability is conservatively based on
assumed extreme dry (99th percentile) inflows for the remainder of the current 2018-19
water year, and all of 2019-20. Indicative estimates for September and November 2019
allocations under a range of inflow scenarios are provided to help water users to plan.
• This forecast information is not guaranteed and should be used at one’s own risk.
• Under these extreme dry conditions, a current shortfall of some 75,000 ML exists in
meeting all 1 July 2019 high priority commitments, including full opening allocations to
conveyance entitlements.
• For context, the Murrumbidgee Valley has experienced ‘near extreme dry’ (96th
percentile) inflows this year (July to March), which are the lowest inflows since the
Millennium drought ended in 2010. For the six month period October to March, 92nd
percentile conditions have been experienced.
• Snowy Hydro’s assessment of potential reduced inflow conditions across the scheme for
2019-20 is also having a bearing on the Murrumbidgee resource availability outlook.
• In the Murrumbidgee regulated river water source, general security and conveyance
licences can carry over water up to a maximum of 30 per cent of entitlement, and the
account limit (allocation plus carryover) is 100 per cent of entitlement.
• It is difficult to reliably predict end-of-year carryover, as it is highly dependent on weather
conditions over the next few months and individual decisions by water users.                                                                        • Access to inter-valley trade in 2019-20 is dependent on the balance of the IVT account.
The 30 June balance is carried forward unchanged to 1 July 2019. Water users should
refer to WaterNSW for IVT account balances and important seasonal trade closure dates.
• Once the commencing allocations are announced on 1 July 2019, regular assessments
will be undertaken and allocation announcements made fortnightly on the 1st and 15th of
each month, or next working day following, until full allocations are achieved.

Indicative allocations on 1 July 2019
• Supplementary (including Lowbidgee) access licence holders can receive a full allocation;
however diversion will only be allowed during periods of announced supplementary
access.
• Full (100 per cent) allocation can be expected for towns, domestic and stock access
licences, and sub-category high security entitlements.
• Murrumbidgee high security access licences can receive an initial allocation of 95 per
cent of entitlement, consistent with the Murrumbidgee regulated river water sharing plan.
• Private carryover can be fully deliverable. At this stage, it is estimated that the average
carryover across the valley will be close to seven per cent of entitlement.
• In the unlikely event that extreme dry conditions continue and the current estimated
shortfall remains, some reduced allocation to conveyance entitlements is possible. The
shortfall has been steadily reducing and is most likely to be met in coming months.
• It is likely that general security entitlements will open at zero allocation if dry inflow
conditions remain.
• Conditions are being closely monitored and a final update will be provided on 15 May.
The outlook becomes more reliable as the forecast period reduces.
• Water in Environmental Water Allowances (EWA) accounts can be made available and
accrue in accordance with the rules of the water sharing plan.
• Murrumbidgee inter and intra valley trade are expected to continue to operate in
accordance with existing procedures, particularly in relation to the inter-valley trade (IVT)
account limits.
• Releases from headwater storages are to be managed to maximise water availability and
deliverability, including equalising the risk of spill from headwater storages.

 

NSW Murray

Key information
• This updated outlook for 1 July 2019 water availability is conservatively based on
assumed very dry (95th percentile) inflow scenario for the remainder of the water year,
and extreme dry (99th percentile) conditions for all of 2019-20.
• For context, the River Murray system has experienced very dry conditions this water year
(July to March), with overall system inflows tracking around the 93rd percentile for much of
the year. However NSW’s share of inflow is estimated to be closer to 96th percentile
because Victorian tributary inflows have been about three times greater by volume this
year than NSW due to rain-bearing systems pushing further south.
• This forecast information is not guaranteed and should be used at one’s own risk.
• It is noted that Snowy Hydro’s assessment of potential reduced inflow conditions across
the scheme for 2019-20 is having a bearing on the Murray resource availability outlook.
• It is difficult to reliably predict end-of-year carryover, as it is highly dependent on weather
conditions over the next few months and individual decisions by water users.
Nevertheless, at this early stage, it is estimated that NSW Murray carryover will be much
less than last year, likely to be around 15 per cent. The maximum general security
carryover allowed for NSW Murray general security water users only is 50 per cent of
entitlement.
• Storage in Hume and Dartmouth dams combined is about 1,500,000 ML lower than this
time last year.
• As usual, the Barmah Choke trade balance will be re-set on 1 July and reflect the volume
of annual Snowy Savings above the choke that will not need to be delivered downstream.
• Once the commencing allocations are announced on 1 July 2019, regular assessments
will be undertaken and allocation statements provided fortnightly.

Indicative allocations on 1 July 2019 – Lower Darling
• The Menindee Lakes System (MLS) is almost empty, currently holding just 18,200 ML (1
per cent capacity) and is in the highest, Stage 4 drought criticality. In the absence of
significant inflows, surface water supplies will be managed adaptively to ensure that any
remaining available water is prioritised for critical purposes.
• Allocations can be made to ensure town, domestic, stock and high security access
licences held by those allowed to take water, have enough account balance to ensure
continued use of water while access to surface water supplies remain. A full (100 per
cent) allocation in the Lower Darling on 1 July is not assured.
• Opening general security allocation is likely to be zero (0) per cent of entitlement in the
Lower Darling unless there is significant recovery in the Menindee system. Carryover
water can remain in accounts and trade within the Lower Darling water source can occur.
Lower Darling inter-valley trade can resume once the system recovers above 640 GL.
• Current restrictions on water usage in the Lower Darling are likely to remain in place until
there is sufficient recovery of the Menindee Lakes system.
• Water supply for Broken Hill is now being met from the Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline.
Full allocation can be expected in 2019-20 based on NSW Murray resources.

Indicative allocations on 1 July 2019 – NSW Murray
• Supplementary access licence holders can receive a full allocation; however diversion will
only be allowed during periods of announced supplementary access.
• It is expected that all high priority commitments – including essential supplies, high
security and carryover – will be able to be met on 1 July 2019, as winter inflows in most
years will provide sufficient inflows.
• Full (100 per cent) allocation can be provided for towns, domestic and stock access
licences, and sub-category high security entitlements.
• It is likely that opening allocations for conveyance entitlements will be low and general
security entitlements open at zero (0) percent. Conveyance entitlements are to receive
165,000 ML before general security begins to receive allocation.
• In the unlikely event that extreme dry inflow conditions eventuate, it is currently estimated
that a 60,000 ML shortfall would exist in meeting full high security and carryover
commitments before water is allocated to conveyance entitlement.
• This estimated shortfall volume is expected to reduce and be fully met through the
upcoming higher inflow months. However, in the unlikely event of a shortfall, the priorities
under the Water Management Act 2000 can be applied, leading to lower priority licences
being impacted to the same extent or greater than higher priority licences.
• Conditions are being closely monitored and more detail, particularly on the shortfall
situation and how it can be managed, will be provided in the mid-May statement.
• Water can be set aside for environmental requirements in accordance with the rules of
the NSW Murray and Lower Darling regulated rivers water sharing plan.
• Payback of the borrowed Barmah Millewa EWA volume will need to commence when
general security allocations reach 30 percent of entitlement.

 

Lachlan

Water availability outlook for 2019-20
 The remaining monthly Water Allocation Statements for this water year will provide
estimates of carryover deliverability in 2019-20. The aim is to assist water users with
their end of year water management decisions and upcoming water year planning.
 Forecast conditions are indicative only and not guaranteed. Forecasts should be used
with caution and can change, particularly when they project many months ahead.
 The resource assessment process is based on the worst period of low inflows prior to the
water sharing plan commencing in 2004. This excludes the Millennium drought, which
contained the lowest Lachlan inflows on record. Therefore there is an inherent risk in
adopting the second worst drought for water allocations.
 The system continues to experience very low inflows, only slightly above pre-2004
minimums since the last general security allocation in August 2017. The planning horizon
for historical minimum inflows assumes a recovery in the system will occur this winter but
this is statistically based and not necessarily reality – not guaranteed.
 If such a winter recovery does not eventuate, minimum inflows relied upon to underpin
existing general security water in accounts will have been insufficient, meaning
restrictions will be required in 2019-20 (drought stage 3).
 Although allocations are based on the second worst drought historically in the Lachlan,
planning and managing for drought is done on the worst case scenario.
 As part of drought contingency measures, preliminary estimates of potential carryover
deliverability under various inflow scenarios are provided in the table below, including
potential reductions on opening high security allocation.
 Scenario estimates are based on applying priorities under the Water Management Act
2000, leading to lower priority licences being impacted to the same extent or greater than
higher priority licences.
 Should restrictions eventuate on 1 July, and subsequent inflows above planning
minimums then occur, improvements could first be applied to ensure essential supplies
can be met for 2020-21, with remaining improvements used to progressively reduce the
level of restrictions. Such relaxations of restrictions has the highest probability of
occurring during the higher winter inflow period, as after this season, future reserves for
2020-21 operations could become critical.
 Conditions are being closely monitored and forecasts can expect to become more
reliable as the forecast period reduces


Click here to see the outlook information

 

1st April

Victoria

Outlook for the 2019/20 season

The outlooks for 2019/20 seasonal determinations are based on historical flow records that have been adjusted to match climate conditions observed since 1975. The outlook scenarios presented are:

Wet: Inflow volumes to major storages that are greater in 10 years out of 100

Average: Inflow volumes to major storages that are greater in 50 years out of 100

Dry: Inflow volumes to major storages that are greater in 90 years out of 100

Extreme Dry: Inflow volumes to major storages that are greater in 99 years out of 100

The following tables summarise the estimated high-reliability water share seasonal determinations through the season for each scenario in the Murray, Goulburn, Loddon, Campaspe, Broken and Bullarook systems.

Murray System Outlook for Seasonal Determination of High-Reliability Water Shares

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet32%62%100%100%
Average 12% 37%74%100%
Dry 0% 24%40%53%
Extreme Dry 0% 14%18%21%

 

Goulburn System Outlook for Seasonal Determination of High-Reliability Water Shares

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet42%84%100%100%
Average 15%42%81%100%
Dry3% 19%37%46%
Extreme Dry 0%4%11%16%

 

Campaspe System Outlook for Seasonal Determination of High-Reliability Water Shares

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet100%100%100%100%
Average26% 73%100%100%
Dry 18% 24%33%34%
Extreme Dry 18%18%18%18%

 

Loddon System Outlook for Seasonal Determination of High-Reliability Water Shares

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet 42% 84%100%100%
Average 12% 42%81%100%
Dry 0% 2%30%36%
Extreme Dry 0% 0%0%0%

 

Broken System Outlook for Seasonal Determination of High-Reliability Water Shares

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet33%69%100%100%
Average 0% 7%100%100%
Dry 0% 0%0%8%
Extreme Dry 0% 0%0%0%

 

Bullarook System Outlook for Seasonal Determination of High-Reliability Water Shares

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet6%100%100%100%
Average 0% 100%100%100%
Dry 0% 0%1%25%
Extreme Dry 0% 0%0%0%

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