Jeremy Giddings Irrigation Industry Development Officer (Horticulture), NSW Department of Primary Industries
The Murray–Darling Basin Authority weekly report information indicates that in-flows into the river system remain at low levels. The whole of basin is storage is at 36% capacity.
This is roughly 15% less than at the same time last year and similar to the same time in 2004 when an extremely dry period began. The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a declining El Nino weather pattern, and has recently updated its seasonal rainfall outlook to indicate a good chance of exceeding median rainfall over the three months to April.
Temperatures are expected to be cooler over this period with little chance of exceeding maximum historical temperatures.
Victorian Murray high reliability water is currently at 98% allocation
Allocations in the NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers for high security water are 97% and 95% respectively, and general security water is 23% and 36% respectively. High security water for the lower Darling is 75%, with existing survival watering for permanent plantings on the lower Darling.
South Australia has a 100% allocation.
Growers are encouraged to seek updated information from their local water authority.
There is generally enough water in storage to meet high security needs for the remainder of this season and critical needs through 2016–17. However, if significant inflows are not received, opening NSW general security allocations for 2016–17 on 1 July will be low or zero and full allocation for NSW high security could be delayed.