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Key Water Blog

2019/2020 Outlook – May 2019

15th May

Murrumbidgee

• 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 100,000 ML exists in
meeting all 1 July 2019 high priority commitments, plus full opening allocations to
conveyance entitlements.
• For context, the Murrumbidgee Valley has experienced ‘near extreme dry’ (96th
percentile) inflows this year (July to April), which are the lowest inflows since the
Millennium drought ended in 2010. Since January this year inflows have been slightly
better with 83rd percentile conditions.
• Snowy Hydro’s assessment of potential reduced inflow conditions across the scheme for
2019-20 and 2020-21 is impacting on the Murrumbidgee water 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.
• 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 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.
• Releases from headwater storages are to be managed to maximise water availability and
deliverability, including equalising the risk of spill from headwater storages.

Indicative allocations on 1 July 2019
• Supplementary (including Lowbidgee) access licence holders can receive a full allocation;
however, diversion will only be allowed during announced supplementary events.
• 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 (7) per cent of entitlement. This
estimate may vary slightly based on usage and trade and will be finalised in late July.
• It is likely that general security entitlements will open at zero allocation if dry inflow
conditions remain.
• In the event that extreme dry conditions continue and the estimated shortfall remains
through June, the following reduced allocations can be expected:
– a volume of at least 42,000 ML for Murrumbidgee Irrigation (conveyance) access
licences can be available
– a volume of at least 58,000 ML for Coleambally Irrigation (conveyance) access licences
can be available.
• Allocation to these conveyance categories can build from now from resource
improvements as a priority, with a view to being on budget as soon as possible.
• In accordance with Clause 42 of the water sharing plan, resource managers must also
consider setting aside resource improvement during 2019-20 for opening allocations for
the highest priority needs in the following year, 2020-21.
• Water in Environmental Water Allowances (EWA) accounts can be made available and
will 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.

Chances of improvement
The chance of improved general security allocation in the Murrumbidgee after 1 July 2019, based on a repeat of historical inflows, is provided in the following table.
It is important to note that these estimates are indicative improvements only and are not guaranteed allocations. Estimates may change based on weather variability, catchment conditions, water management decisions and other events. This means water users should use this information with caution & at their own risk.

To read the full announcement click here

 

 

NSW Murray

• This updated outlook for 1 July 2019 water availability is conservatively based on
assumed extreme dry (99th percentile) inflow conditions through 2019-20.
• For context, the River Murray system has experienced very dry conditions this water year
(July to April), 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.
• 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.
• Current accounts data suggests NSW Murray carryover could be around 16 – 19 per cent
of entitlement. Late trade and usage may vary this and actual carryover numbers will be
finalised by late July. The maximum general security carryover allowed for NSW Murray
general security water users is 50 per cent of entitlement.
• Storage in Hume and Dartmouth dams combined is about 1,460,000 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 commencing allocations are announced on 1 July 2019, regular assessments will
be undertaken and allocation statements provided 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 – Lower Darling
• The Menindee Lakes System (MLS) is almost empty, currently holding just 16,600 ML (1
per cent capacity) and is in the highest, Stage 4 drought criticality. In the absence of
significant inflows, surface water supplies can 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.
• Opening allocations are likely to be 50 per cent for local water utility licences, 30 per cent
for domestic and stock licences, and 20 per cent to high security, similar to opening
allocations in 2015 and 2016.
• 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.
• Restrictions on water usage in the Lower Darling are likely to continue 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.
• Full (100 per cent) allocation can be provided for towns, domestic and stock access
licences, and sub-category high security entitlements.
• It is expected that all high priority commitments – including essential supplies, high
security (97 per cent) and carryover – can be met on 1 July 2019. The shortfall volume in
earlier assessments has been met from small improvements in recent months.
• It is likely that opening allocations for conveyance entitlements will be very low and would
need to build as a priority in 2019-20. Conveyance entitlements are to receive 165,000
ML before general security begins to receive allocation.
• In accordance with Clause 32 of the water sharing plan, resource managers must also
consider setting aside resource improvement during 2019-20 for opening allocations for
the highest priority needs in the following year, 2020-21.
• 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.

Chances of improvement
The chances of improved general security allocation in the NSW Murray after 1 July 2019,
based on a repeat of historical inflows, are provided in the following table under a variety of
conditions. The forecast is based on all available historical data. Note: this gives a better
outlook than using just the driest years on record (dry tercile).
Historically, droughts have a higher likelihood of breaking in the winter/spring seasons than
any other season, and therefore there is a possibility that the current drought may break or
ease in the coming months. However, if this does not occur, the forecasting will change from
using all available data to using the driest third of all years (dry tercile), as happened earlier
in this 2018-19 water year on the back of a dry winter in 2018.
It is important to note these estimates are indicative improvements only and are not
guaranteed allocations. Estimates may change based on weather variability, water
management decisions and other events. This means water users should use this
information with caution and at their own risk, as it projects many months ahead. The
reliability of the outlook is expected to improve as the forecast period reduces

To read the full announcement click here

 

Victorian Outlook

The Resource Manager for northern Victorian water systems today updated the outlook for 2019/20 seasonal determinations.

Northern Victorian Resource Manager Mark Bailey said 2019/20 seasonal determinations against high‑reliability water shares (HRWS) will depend on flows received into the major storages.

“There has not been any significant resource improvement since the release of the previous outlook in April 2019,” Dr Bailey said.

“There are lower reserves available in the major storages this year.

“Without increased storage volumes, the opening seasonal determinations announced on July 1, 2019, are likely to be quite low.

“The recent rainfall began to wet the catchment, but did not add much water to the storages. Reserves will improve with runoff, which will only come with more rain.

“Carryover will be deliverable under all scenarios in the Murray, Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems. At this stage, there is insufficient water to operate the Broken and Bullarook systems as usual for the entire 2019/20 season, but carryover will be deliverable early in the season. Operations will be extended as resource improvements occur.

“Based on assumed use to the end of 2018/19, allocation carried over into 2019/20 and climate-adjusted flow records, the risk of spill in the Goulburn system during 2019/20 is estimated to be less than 10 per cent. The risk in the Murray system is about 20 per cent. The Campaspe system risk of spill is about 30 per cent on current data.

“Customers may wish to factor this into their plans for the remaining months of 2018/19.”

Further detail on 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
Wet28%67%100%100%
Average 9% 41%78%100%
Dry 0% 30%45%64%
Extreme Dry 0% 18%19%26%

 

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

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet36%68%100%100%
Average 11%40%73%100%
Dry1%16%36%45%
Extreme Dry 0%2%9%15%

 

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

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet92%100%100%100%
Average23% 70%100%100%
Dry 17% 22%32%33%
Extreme Dry 17%17%17%17%

 

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

Inflow Conditions1 July 201915 August 201915 October 201917 February 2020
Wet 36% 68%100%100%
Average 9% 40%73%100%
Dry 0% 12%34%38%
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
Wet20%60%100%100%
Average 0% 4%100%100%
Dry 0% 0%0%7%
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
Wet0%100%100%100%
Average 0% 100%100%100%
Dry 0% 0%0%0%
Extreme Dry 0% 0%0%0%

 

Additional outlook scenarios for each system are available from the Northern Victorian Resource Manager website (www.nvrm.net.au/outlooks).

Outlooks for low-reliability water shares (LRWS) will be prepared during the 2019/20 season if seasonal determination are 100% HRWS and there is the possibility of LRWS being allocated.

Upcoming Resource Manager Announcements

  • The first 2019/20 seasonal determination announcement will be released on Monday 1 July 2019 and will include an assessment of the probability of spill in the Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe systems and an updated outlook.

 

 

14th May 2019

Lachlan

• The final water allocation statement for this water year will be in June 2019 and 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 the projection is 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,
contingency 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 to 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 be applied to ensure essential supplies can
be met for 2020-21, and to progressively reduce the level of restrictions. Such relaxation
of restrictions has the highest probability of occurring during the higher winter inflow
period, as after this time, future reserves for 2020-21 operations could become critical.
• Conditions are being closely monitored and information will be regularly updated.

Chances of improvement
Potential general security allocations in 2019-20, based on a repeat of historical inflows, are
provided in the table below as estimated chances of improvement.
These are indicative improvements only and are not guaranteed allocations. Estimates may
change based on weather variability, water management decisions and other events. This
means water users should use this information with caution and at their own risk, as it
projects many months ahead

To read the full announcement click here 

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