Pay­ing top price

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE -

Tem­po­rary wa­ter prices in north­ern Vic­to­ria have hit a nine-year high, de­spite re­cently in­creased wa­ter al­lo­ca­tions.

The peak price climbed to $400/Ml in Novem­ber and has not eased off. This is dou­ble the price of Novem­ber 2017.

While gen­eral se­cu­rity ir­ri­ga­tors in the Rive­rina are lan­guish­ing on zero al­lo­ca­tions, the Vic­to­rian Mur­ray sys­tem has reached 100 per cent and the Goul­burn 93 per cent, fol­low­ing rain in early De­cem­ber.

North­ern Vic­to­ria re­source man­ager Mark Bai­ley said the rain­fall across the north-east catch­ments in­creased the flows into the stor­ages and in the down­stream rivers.

‘‘The flows were higher than our con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mates, and to­gether with lower evap­o­ra­tion from the stor­ages, pro­vided ad­di­tional re­source to al­lo­cate,’’ he said.

Dr Bai­ley said these fac­tors would in­flu­ence sea­sonal de­ter­mi­na­tion im­prove­ments in the com­ing months.

He said the sea­sonal de­ter­mi­na­tion out­look to Fe­bru­ary 15 was based on his­tor­i­cal flows into the ma­jor stor­ages un­der dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios.

‘‘These flows are gen­er­ally low at this time of year. ‘‘Sea­sonal de­ter­mi­na­tion as­sess­ments in­clude es­ti­mates of evap­o­ra­tion and river losses.’’

Mur­ray sys­tem wa­ter prices have been trad­ing up to $421/Ml.

Dairy Aus­tralia be­lieves the lack of rain and re­duced stream flows are the main rea­sons driv­ing the prices.

The Bu­reau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy is fore­cast­ing low stream flows across Aus­tralia from De­cem­ber to Fe­bru­ary.

VFF Wa­ter Coun­cil chair Richard An­der­son said the high de­mand for wa­ter was prob­a­bly be­ing driven by a dry win­ter and spring.

‘‘Most peo­ple started wa­ter­ing on the first day they could turn it on,’’ Mr An­der­son said.

Al­though rain has come later in the sea­son, the de­mand has al­ready been locked in by a dry spring.

Mr An­der­son said rea­son­able mar­ket con­di­tions for hor­ti­cul­tural pro­duc­tion meant grow­ers were also look­ing for ex­tra wa­ter to fin­ish off their crops and max­imise pro­duc­tion.

Vic­to­rian prices may also be in­flu­enced by de­mand from in­ter­state.

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