• Wa­ter flows to Toolondo

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

The spring and sum­mer recre­ational prospects of Toolondo Reser­voir south of Hor­sham are primed for a ma­jor boost with ex­tra wa­ter to flow into the lake from today.

Gwmwa­ter will start trans­fer­ring 5000 me­gal­itres from Rock­lands Reser­voir to Toolondo in a move likely to lift the level at the pop­u­lar fish­ing des­ti­na­tion by half a me­tre.

The cor­po­ra­tion de­cided on the trans­fer af­ter as­sess­ing stor­age cir­cum­stances against a Rock­lands-toolondo re­lease trig­ger level.

Gwmwa­ter wa­ter re­sources man­ager Kym Wil­son said fur­ther as­sess­ments of wa­ter lev­els and catch­ment con­di­tions in the next fort­night would help de­ter­mine if the trans­fer amount should in­crease.

“Rock­lands Reser­voir is at a good level and as part of an an­nual stor­age-man­age­ment plan it is now ap­pro­pri­ate to hold more wa­ter in Toolondo,” he said.

“It’s re­ally a great out­come in sup­port­ing re­cre­ation op­por­tu­ni­ties at Toolondo.”

A man­age­ment plan in­volv­ing wa­ter trans­fer be­tween Rock­lands and Toolondo in­cludes a Rock­lands trig­ger level of 116,000 me­gal­itres.

Wa­ter man­agers con­sider the trig­ger level and other cir­cum­stances when as­sess­ing whether a trans­fer is ap­pro­pri­ate. Rock­lands is hold­ing about 130,000 me­gal­itres.

“On this oc­ca­sion it sat­is­fies re­quire­ments,” Mr Wil­son said.

“It’s nice to see stor­ages still in a good po­si­tion. Rain has been a lit­tle light on in terms of the catch­ment but we still have the pri­mary in­flow sea­son yet to oc­cur.

“Catch­ments are quite wet and all it will take is con­tin­ued rain to get run-off. It all depends on the weather to come. Over­all, we’ve car­ried a lot of wa­ter for­ward in stor­age from last year and that has set us up for a re­ally good year ahead.”

Farm­ers

While the re­gional wa­ter stor­ages ap­pear in a healthy con­di­tion, the weather and other cir­cum­stances have left Wim­mera farm­ers ‘bet­ter than some, but worse than oth­ers’.

With crops across the re­gion trans­form­ing the land­scape into a patch­work of green, Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent David Jochinke said his ob­ser­va­tions sug­gested the Wim­mera had so far some of the best look­ing crops in the state.

But he added that they had also suf­fered greater at­tack from mice than other ru­ral ar­eas.

“For the Wim­mera the sea­son is look­ing rel­a­tively okay at the moment. We had some timely rain af­ter hav­ing a very dry and frosty pe­riod while other places have missed out,” he said.

“But crops here have been hit by mice while other ar­eas have had nowhere near the amount of mice.”

Mr Jochinke said the hope was for an­other pro­duc­tive sea­son to help con­sol­i­date re­cov­ery from pre­vi­ous dry years.

“The crops are start­ing to get a full head of steam, al­though some might not be as ad­vanced as other sea­sons be­cause of cold con­di­tions. What we want now is to get some reg­u­lar de­cent rain. Most farm­ers will also be look­ing for a mild spring and no frosts,” he said.

“It’s been spring that has let us down in the re­cent years but if we get a win­ter and spring that be­have them­selves the po­ten­tial is there.

“We’re see­ing ce­real prices on the im­prove, but at the same time re­duc­tion in pulse prices. So the cy­cle continues to roll on.”

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