Irrigation water demand

IRRIGATORS are being encouraged to consider their water needs as early as possible due to a high demand for water.

With the irrigation season to end on May 15, Goulburn-Murray Water is preparing for a high demand for water - which is common during Autumn.

The rural water supplier has revealed that there were 797 gigalitres of unused carryover water for the week ending March 23, compared with 441 gigalitres this time last year. 

Part of the difference can be attributed to higher rainfall in the 2016/17 season which led to more water being held over until this irrigation season.

Above-average rain in November and December boosted the annual total to 389.2 millimetres, 18.3 millimetres above the long-term average. 

Carryover refers to the arrangement that allows water entitlement holders to take their unused water allocation from this irrigation season into the next season.

"Our water delivery team has also been busy – with more than 1375 gigalitres delivered to all customers so far in the 2017/18 year compared with 835 gigalitres for the same period in the 2016/17 year," the regional rural water supplier's general manager of customer operations, Scott Barber said. 

"In instances where irrigation water demand exceeds channel delivery capacity for only a short period, we will schedule irrigation orders - linking start orders with finish orders.

"This means we are requesting that customers be flexible with start dates and times to fit demand within available capacity. Where appropriate, orders may be altered in consultation with the customer to maximise channel capacity."

To ensure that delays are kept to a minimum, irrigators are urged to speak to their water planner to discuss their end of season and autumn irrigation needs.

"With information on our customers planned irrigation needs we will be able to better balance supply for all customers," Mr Barber said.

The approaching end to the irrigation season will mean that farmers will be waiting for a definitive Autumn break soon. Around one-third of the January to March long-term average has been received and no rain has yet been recorded in April. Kerang received 122.8 millimetres in April and May last year.

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