Paying top price
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.