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Key Water Blog

Understanding seasonal outlooks and spill risks with return to wetter conditions – Victorian Water Register

17 June 2020

After three years of very dry conditions, dam levels are rising due to recent rainfall and the end of the irrigation season. The risk of spills is greater now than it has been for this time of year over the past few seasons. Entitlement holders should consider this when making decisions about how to hold any unused water and plan for the new water year.

The Northern Victorian Resource Manager has released information on seasonal outlooks and spill risks for 2020-21.

On 15 May the Northern Victorian Resource Manager updated the outlook for 2020-21 seasonal determinations, with wetter than average conditions forecast for winter. More information on seasonal determinations for northern Victoria is available at https://nvrm.net.au/outlooks/current-outlook.

On 10 June the Northern Victorian Resource Manager updated the risks of spill for the 2020-21 water year. The risk of spill is now 60% for Lake Hume (Murray) and 20% for Lake Eildon (Goulburn).

More information about the current risk of spill for major storages in northern Victoria is available at https://nvrm.net.au/risk-of-spill. The next update on spill risks will be on 1 July when the first seasonal determinations for 2020-21 are made.

Carryover rules give entitlement holders the flexibility to choose when to use or trade their allocations and make use of dam storage space when it is available. Spill rules are in place to free up space in the dams when it is needed to capture inflows that support increased allocations for all entitlement holders.

Entitlement holders can carry over their unused water from one year to the next against their high and low-reliability entitlements. Water that is carried over can be used or traded in the new water year. Any water that is stored above your full entitlement volume is spillable and recorded in spillable accounts.

Spillable water can only be used or traded once the Northern Victorian Resource Manager makes a declaration that the risk of spill over the remainder of the season is less than 10%.
If spills occur, these are applied proportionally to all entitlement holders storing more water than their full entitlement. Irrigators, environmental water holders and water corporations are treated equally.

More information on carryover and spill rules in Victoria, including a carryover calculator, is available at https://waterregister.vic.gov.au/water-entitlements/carryover/carryover-rules.