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Under the current seasonal outlook, Lake Glenmaggie is unlikely to spill before 15 December. This means that Macalister irrigators this season will have 100% of their high reliability water and whatever future allocation of low reliability water is available.

Southern Rural Water is currently reviewing the model for allocations and predicts that irrigators will receive a minimum of 20% allocation against their low reliability water shares.

Manager Water Supply East, Gavin Prior, said that with Lake Glenmaggie at 75% full, and with recent good rainfall into the Thomson Dam boosting the reserve, this has provided support for the model predictions.

“Having low reliability allocation in December allows irrigators to plan their water use for the remainder of the season,” he said. “Customers have been managing their water cautiously, coming of the back of another dry year.”

MID irrigators have already used approximately 55,000ML of the 155,000ML held in Glenmaggie for high reliability water shares, compared with 60,000ML last year.

 “Lake Glenmaggie is currently 75% full, which is about the same as it was this time last year,” Mr Prior said.

“However, rainfall and inflows into the storage have been lower and customers have been more conservative in their water use. Our modelling reflects that, after 15 December, the volume in Lake Glenmaggie will need to fulfil the remaining high reliability water allocation before we could consider increasing low reliability allocation above 20%.”

SRW will review water allocation fortnightly from 15 December for the remainder of the season and the low reliability allocation may be increased if inflows allow. If customers need more water, there are options to trade with other MID customers or to buy water. Allocation trading has increased between customers seeking more water. Last season, SRW reported that customers had traded more than 25,000ML, up from around 16,000ML the previous year.

There will be an allocation auction in late January and a permanent water share auction in February. Details on registration will be available closer to the time. For more information, please call 1300 139 510.