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To help Macalister Irrigation District irrigators plan water use for the coming months, Southern Rural Water has used its allocation model to provide an early indication of when irrigators can expect an allocation against low reliability water shares.

Based on current storage levels and customer usage, the model shows that MID irrigators will be allocated a minimum of 25% of their low reliability water should Lake Glenmaggie not spill before the cut-off date of 15 December.

Manager Water Supply East, Terry Clapham said that, despite some recent rainfall across the district, a dry catchment has meant it was increasingly unlikely that Lake Glenmaggie would fill and spill before the declaration date.   For irrigators, this means there is unlikely to be any spill entitlement this year.

“Lake Glenmaggie is currently 80% full, but the inflows have been exceeded by customer demand, which is only going to increase as the season continues,” he said.

The climate outlook for November to January from the Bureau of Meteorology suggests the district will receive warmer than average temperatures across the region and a drier than average rainfall outlook leading from spring into summer. SRW records show a lower than average rainfall and inflow to storages throughout 2018.

“Lake Glenmaggie is one of the most reliable and predictable storages in Australia,” Mr Clapham said.  “This gives us the opportunity to look ahead and help customers plan their water use for the non-spill period of the season.”

If there is no significant rainfall in the next few weeks, Lake Glenmaggie will not spill. This would make it the first time since 2006 that there is no spill entitlement for customers.

“Irrigators have become accustomed  to factoring ‘spill’ into their planning for the year, given how regularly it occurs, but that may not be the case this year.  However, because of the unusual climatic conditions and the fact that a significant portion of customer entitlements have already been used, we wanted to let everyone know early that a low reliability allocation will be possible earlier than usual.,” he said.

However, if Lake Glenmaggie does spill before 15 December 2018, all water used to that date will be recorded as spill and the allocation will remain at 100% of high reliability with no low reliability water issued on 15 December.

Water allocations are reviewed fortnightly throughout the season and are adjusted to take into account future rainfall and inflows into the storage. If customers need more water, there are options to trade with other MID customers or to buy temporary 2018-19 allocation.

There is an online auction for 2018-19 season allocation in the MID starting at 11am Tuesday 13 November and running through to Thursday 15 November. There are four lots of 10ML each being offered with no reserve. To bid, customers must be registered on the online system WaterBid, at waterbid.srw.com.au. For more information, please call 1300 139 510.

There will be further allocation auctions in December and January and a permanent water share auction in February.