Incremental increases in HRWS determinations

Low rainfall to slow increases in seasonal irrigation determinations


Below average rainfall expected in northern Victoria in the coming months.

DRIER CONDITIONS: Bureau of Meteorology senior executive Janice Green has told a Shepparton conference warmer days and less rainfall are on the way.

DRIER CONDITIONS: Bureau of Meteorology senior executive Janice Green has told a Shepparton conference warmer days and less rainfall are on the way.

There's been another slight increase in seasonal determinations for the Murray system.

Northern Victoria Resource manager Mark Bailey said the Murray system moved from 38 per cent of high-reliability water shares to 40 per cent.

The Goulburn and Loddon systems increased from 48 per cent to 50 per cent HRWS.

The Campaspe system moved from 54 per cent to 56 per cent HRWS.

Seasonal determinations in the Broken system remain on 0 per cent HRWS.

The Bullarook system remained on 100% HRWS and low-reliability water shares.

Mr Bailey said flows into the major storages across northern Victoria were declining, as recent rainfall totals remained low.

"Flows into the storages were low, but are slightly higher than our conservative estimates, which improved available resources and allowed the increased seasonal determinations," Dr Bailey said.

"We are nearing the end of the period with historically higher flows. "Without significant rainfall, large improvements in the seasonal determinations are unlikely."

"The latest Bureau of Meteorology seasonal outlooks show below-average rainfall across northern Victoria is more likely between October and December."

Dr Bailey welcomed the full establishment of the early season reserve in the Goulburn system, which allows all resource improvements in the system to be directed to high-reliability water share seasonal determinations.

At a Shepparton southern Murray-Darling Basin seasonal outlook forum, Murray Darling Basin Authority River Operations director Jacqui Hickey said the Southern Basin was now into its third dry winter and spring.

"Unless we get some fantastic east coast lows, coming across, and monsoons in February, we are looking at another dry year," Ms Hickey said.

"If you take the average since 1998, inflows into dams are declining and that's consistent with all the science."

While Australia was not yet in a similar circumstance to the Millenium drought, next winter and spring would be very important.

"In July, we got really excited, because we were doing better than last year," she said.

"We had some rain, across the Victorian Alps, and we got some decent water out of the Ovens River, as well.

"But since then it has dried off and its starting to trend, more like last year."

And Bureau of Meteorology acting general manager/water Janice Green told the forum the Indian Ocean Dipole had strengthened.

"It's going to continue to dominate our weather, which means we are going to have warmer days, and also less rainfall, particularly over the central and southern parts of Australia and the southern Basin."

The other factor influencing the weather was the Southern Annular Mode, which affected westerly winds, and was in a negative phase.

"A negative SAM has the effect of exacerbating the influence of a positive IOD," Ms Green said.

"Moving into spring and summer, the IOD is likely to dissipate, the El Nino is likely to remain neutral, until at least 2020, the SAM is likely to continue in the negative into October until early January.

"For the rest of October, we are going to continue to get high maximum temperatures, minimum temperatures are going to be more in the average, but rainfall is going to be below average, for most of Australia and the Basin."

The SaM blocked moist air coming from the Tasman Sea.

"New Zealand is going to get a lot of rain, Tasmania is going to get a lot of rain, but unfortunately it's going to be dry on mainland Australia.

"Moving into the end of summer, we are still going to get these higher median temperatures, both maximum and minimum, but it's looking likely it's going to be less dry than previous months."


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