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Despite a tough season and ongoing dry conditions, Lake Glenmaggie has started to fill and Southern Rural Water (SRW) has announced an opening allocation of 45% for the Macalister Irrigation District customers this season.

Lake Glenmaggie had fallen to a low of 6% when the 2018/19 season ended on 15 May. The low level exposed some of the historic features of the former township, not seen since 2007. Since May, rain and snow melt in the upper catchment have brought the storage back up to 25%, exactly the same volume as in early July 2018.

Manager Water Supply East, Gavin Prior, said this shows how consistent the catchment can be. “Lake Glenmaggie is currently 25% full, and is still one of the most reliable storages in Australia,” Mr Prior said. SRW also holds a drought reserve in the Thomson Dam, of currently 33,400 megalitres (ML). “This means we can provide a higher opening allocation for customers, allowing them to plan water use for the coming season,” he said.

Mr Prior said that SRW has had another year of high demand, successfully delivering 100% of high-reliability and 35% of low-reliability water to customers in the MID.

Despite having no spill entitlement from Lake Glenmaggie last year, the system delivered 176,945ML, which is only 12,000ML less than the 2017/18 record volume.

Mr Prior said it was not unusual for the opening allocation to start out low, particularly given the high deliveries and low storage level at the end of last season. The allocation is reviewed fortnightly throughout the season and is adjusted to take into account future rainfall and inflows into the storage.

The short to medium-term outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology suggests a drier than average winter and spring.

Mr Prior said: “With a drier than average outlook and last year’s tough season fresh in our minds, it is a good idea to complete a water use plan and consider your water needs early.”

“We encourage any customers who feel they will need more water this season to consider buying our shelf-price water shares or trade water via our Watermatch page.”