GMW opens irrigation season
GOULBURN-Murray Water (GMW) have opened their new irrigation season, as of last month.
Buoyed by rainfall in the North East, GMW were hopeful the additional rain would help ease pressure on irrigators following a mostly dry winter.
GMW water resources manager, Mark Bailey, said while it was too early to say what the rainfall would mean long-term for farmers, it was a positive sign.
“Lake Eildon, Nillahcootie, Buffalo and William Hovell all saw inflows pick up considerably (because of the late August rain),” he said.
“Lake Eppalock and the Loddon storages did reasonably well.”
Kyabram customer service manager, Greg Shannon, said in his area the rainfall had been welcomed and meant some farmers wouldn’t be looking to irrigate immediately when the season opened.
“There will be some customers who will still require a stock and domestic supply, however, this rain means some will hold off with irrigation until September.
“It depends how much rain we get, there are a few more showers forecast here and there - but there is moisture in the ground which is a good thing.”
Rochester customer service manager, Paul Cox, agreed – saying the rain was helping to relieve pressure at the start of the irrigation season.
“It was looking like farmers were going to have to get straight into irrigating as soon as the season opened, but the recent rain may take some of this pressure off and allow farmers to irrigate later, saving water for when it’s needed most,” he said.
GMW Strategic Advisory Committee member and Kiewa, Mitta Mitta and Upper Murray Water Services Committee chair, Peter Serpell, said the August rain was welcome in the North East.
“Given that we had one of our driest Junes in 50 years, and that July was also below average, the rain is certainly welcome,” he said.
“We were saying only a few days ago that we were unsure what the coming season would bring.
“This rain will top up the stream flows and especially with the amount of snow – this will mean a brighter irrigation season.”