With significant heavy rain predicted today and tomorrow, not only in cropping areas but over the catchments, there are many irrigators that may have expected WaterNSW’s allocation forecast to have changed. However, with today’s announcement – which saw no increase in Murrumbidgee accounts, there was no revised outlook.
The table at the bottom of this article was provided alongside the allocation update on the 15th of November and shows that even with wet conditions there would be no increase in GS allocation until February.
They did however still state “the next available water must be allocated to the environmental water account (EWA1) and the provisional storage volume account (PSV1), some 50,000 and 25,000 megalitres respectively, in accordance with the water sharing plan rules. Once these commitments are met, and there is confidence about high security and likely carryover commitments for next year, further improvement in water availability can then accrue to general security entitlements.”
So, what’s going on here?
One can only assume that there has not yet been enough inflow to fully satisfy the 75GL of water owed to both the environmental water account and the provisional storage volume account, although precisely how much of this has been met we are yet to find out.
The 50GL of environmental water is the water set aside under the water sharing plan for environmental purposes such as wetland inundation, flushes to improve water quality, or providing habitat for waterbird breeding.
The 25GL for the provisional storage volume account is water used to increase the size and frequency of spill events for environmental benefits, and to increase water availability in the following seasons. The provisional storage accounts allow water to be set aside in wet years for future environmental requirements and to reduce the volatility in allocations.
From the information provided by WaterNSW it would seem that none of the required 25GL has yet been allocated to the provisional storage volume account, as the Reserves are currently sitting at 50GL, which is the minimum requirement in the water sharing plan, made up of 25GL in each storage.
This all begs the question- how much of this 75GL has been allocated to these accounts?
Following on from this – how much rain is needed before we reap the reward?
A recent Water Availability Weekly report issued by WaterNSW on the 27th of November stated that allocations will not increase until resources improve by about another 220GL over and above the minimum inflows.
So, here’s hoping that the catchments get as much rain as they are forecasting for us here!
For a copy of the announcement please click http://www.water.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/748649/171201-WAS-Murrumbidgee.pdf