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Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District


History

Settlement of the Werribee River basin began with the development of Melbourne and, by the middle of the 1860s, private schemes to irrigate sections of farms with river frontages had been established. Because these schemes relied on natural river flows, however, they were limited in their extent and reliability.

Extensive survey works began in 1867 by the then Victorian Water Supply Department. When the survey was completed, an ambitious development proposal was put forward, but was never approved due to the high cost. Private irrigation schemes therefore continued for the next 30 years.

In April 1889, the Bacchus Marsh Irrigation and Water Supply Trust was formed. The irrigation district comprised of 283 hectares of land on the banks of Parwan Creek. Water was also supplied to the township of Bacchus Marsh.

Following this, the Lerderderg Irrigation Trust was formed in April 1890, to irrigate 810 hectares of river flats along the banks of the Lerderderg River. However, no works were constructed as the Trust decided that the expense involved could not be justified.

Under the provisions of the Water Act of 1905, the Lerderderg Irrigation Trust was abolished and the Bacchus Marsh Irrigation and Water Supply District was transferred to the newly-formed State Rivers and Water Supply Commission.

Development began under the control of the Water Commission. A new diversion weir on the Werribee River was completed in 1910 and a new main channel was completed in the following year. This channel increased the area supplied with water to 1,330 hectares. Supply channels to serve this additional area were completed in 1913.

The demand for irrigation supplies steadily increased and in 1911 Pykes Creek Reservoir the first storage on the Werribee River – was completed. An additional main channel was completed in 1929 to supply 400 hectares of high land adjacent to the older irrigation areas. The original channels were lined with concrete between 1920 and 1934.

In the early 1960s, a program of progressive pipe-lining began in the BMID. The main channel was progressively enlarged and its banks raised for a length of 300 metres near the township to prevent flooding of private land. In 1970, the township section was abandoned due to urban development.

What is Individual Carryover?

With individual carryover, all water held in the reservoirs will be allocated to you in the current season. Southern Rural Water will not store water for future years.

Any unused water in your ABA will remain in your account for you to use in the new season, according to these rules:

The maximum volume of water that you can carry over from season to season is the total volume of your high and low reliability water shares
15% is automatically taken off at the end of a season to account for the evaporation that occurs from the reservoirs.

In any season, the maximum volume that can be allocated to you is equal to the total volume of your water shares – this includes any carryover.


Operations

The BMID now receives its irrigation supply via a weir on the Werribee River just east of Ballan, which diverts water via a tunnel and Myers Creek to Pykes Creek Reservoir.

Water from Pykes Creek Reservoir is released into the Werribee River via the Korweinguboora Creek. A second diversion weir located west of Bacchus Marsh on the Werribee River diverts irrigation supplies into the BMID.

Like Werribee and the Macalister Irrigation District in Gippsland, Bacchus Marsh is a gravity irrigation district and relies on upstream heads of water to move supply through the channels and pipes to the farmer.

Customers order water through Southern Rural Water’s Waterline ordering system. It is then delivered by our Water Services Officers through a complex series of checks, regulators and valves. This brings the water to the “farm gate”, where it is measured either by a Dethridge wheel on open channels or a standard flow meter on pipelines. From here it is directed by the farmer, often into storage dams and then into on-farm irrigation systems.

Prices for water in the Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District are determined by the Essential Services Commission following recommendation by the Southern Rural Water Board. This recommendation is made following consultation with the Werribee Bacchus Marsh Customer Consultative Committee, which is made up of customers from within the district.


Allocation and Carryover

This means that we will start the new system on 1 July. As a result, any unused water in your allocation account (ABA) at the end of this season on 30 June will automatically carry over to the next season, starting on 1 July.

You need to have a water share linked to your allocation account to be able to carry over your unused water.

How can you use Carryover?

Carryover gives you more flexibility to:

  • Hold, use or trade water when it’s of the greatest value to your business.
  • Prepare for drought by holding enough water for use in the next season.

Will there be much change?

Carryover helps you manage your water to meet your business requirements. However, there will be small differences to allocations compared to the current system.

At the start of a new season we will calculate the volume of water carried over from the previous season. Then if there is more water held in the reservoirs than is needed to deliver the carryover, we will announce an increase to that season’s allocation.

This means that in most years, the starting allocation may be lower than under the current system.

If you use all of your water and do not carry over, then you may have less water at the start of the year. In normal years, this will even out as the season progresses, with increases in allocations going to those who have room in their entitlements.

Trading

When you can carry over water from season to season, buying and selling water may be an important option for you to secure the right amount of water for your ongoing needs. We have recently developed our online trading forum Watermatch, where our customers can find someone to trade water with.

If you want to lodge a post on the forum you can find the site at www.srw.com.au/watermatch.

If you want to talk about your options or want SRW to post a message on the forum on your behalf then please contact us by calling 9974 4752 or pop into our offices in Werribee or Bacchus Marsh.

Please note that if you want to trade water before the end of the season with the aim of carrying over any unused water, then you need to lodge your applications with us before 23 June to give us enough time to process it.

How will at affect me?

Below are a couple of examples of how carryover works.

If you want to understand how carryover might affect your circumstances then please call us and make an appointment so we can explain how it will work in your business.

Carryover –  Farmer A

  • Farmer A has a high reliability water share of 20ML and low reliability water share of 10ML
  • Allocation this season is 100% high-reliability and 15% low-reliability. This equals 21.5ML of water for farmer A
  • Farmer A uses 11.5ML of water in the season and so there is 10 ML of unused water
  • Farmer A carries over 8.5 ML of water to the next season. This is the 10 ML unused water minus 15% for evaporation loss, which is 1.5ML
  • Starting allocation for the following season is 40% high-reliability
  • Farmer A has 16.5 ML of water available for the start of the next season, made up of 8.5ML carried over from previous year, and 8ML of new season allocation (40% of their 20 ML high-reliability share)
  • As the reservoirs fill, Farmer A will receive further allocation increases up to a maximum of 13.5 ML – when he will have 30 ML of water which is the maximum under his water shares (20 ML high-reliability and 10 ML low-reliability).

Carryover – Farmer B

  • Farmer B uses 200ML of water in the season and so there is 15ML of unused water
  • Farmer B carries over 12.75ML of water to the next season. This is the 15ML unused water minus 15% for evaporation loss, which is 2.25ML
  • Starting allocation for the following season is 40% high-reliability
  • Farmer B has 92.75ML of water available for the start of the next season, made up of 12.75 ML carried over from previous year, and80ML of new season allocation (40% of their 200ML high-reliability share)
  • As the reservoirs fill, Farmer B will receive further allocation increases up to a maximum of 207.5ML – when he will have 300ML of water which is the maximum under his water shares (200 ML high-reliability and 100 ML low-reliability)


Fees - Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation Districts

Water share fee

High Reliability $125.00 This is an annual fee for your high-reliability water shares water shares. These fees reflect the costs of operating, maintaining and renewing the reservoirs in which your water shares are harvested and stored.

Low Reliability $62.50 This is an annual fee for your low-reliability water shares water shares. These fees reflect the costs of operating, maintaining and renewing the reservoirs in which your water shares are harvested and stored.

Delivery share

Infrastructure Fee (WID) $14,900.00
This fee reflects the costs of operating, maintaining, renewing and upgrading the delivery systems – channels, pipelines and regulators – that we use to distribute your water. This fee does not apply to river diverters who hold extraction shares (not delivery shares).

Infrastructure Fee (BMID) $10,370.00
This fee reflects the costs of operating, maintaining, renewing and upgrading the delivery systems – channels, pipelines and regulators – that we use to distribute your water. This fee does not apply to river diverters who hold extraction shares (not delivery shares).

Service point fee

Werribee Irrigation District

Standard $230.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your delivery share, and reflect the costs of operating and maintaining your outlet.

Standard (Shared) $184.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Pump $115.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter.

Pump (Shared)  $92.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

River $115.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter.

River (Shared)  $92.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Unmetered $57.50

Unmetered (shared)  $46.00
Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District

Standard  $195.00
This fee reflects the costs of operating, maintaining, renewing and upgrading the delivery systems – channels, pipelines and regulators – that we use to distribute your water. This fee does not apply to river diverters who hold extraction shares (not delivery shares).

Standard (Shared) $156.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Pump $97.50
This fee apply to each service point associated with This fees apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter.

Pump (Shared) $78.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

River $115.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter.

River (Shared) $92.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your extraction share, and reflect the costs of maintaining your meter. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Unmetered  $50.00

Unmetered (shared)  $40.00
Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Water usage fee

Casual Use (WID) $235.00

Casual Use (BMID) $245.00

Drainage diversion

Drainage Diversion (WID) $110.00
This fee is for irrigators who hold agreements to divert water from the irrigation drainage system. This is ‘opportunistic’ access to water when available in the drainage system, and no entitlement to water is held. The fee will be charged on the basis of $ per ML outlined in your Drainage Diversion Agreement. Diversion Sales (WID) $110.00

Recycled water

Recycled water contracted rate $343.00



Managing Floods in Werribee and Bacchus Marsh

The Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation Districts rely on three major storages upstream, all managed by Southern Rural Water:

Pykes Creek Reservoir which has a capacity of 22,119 megalitres (ML)
Melton Reservoir which has a capacity of 14,340 ML
Merrimu Reservoir which has a capacity of 32,215 ML

None of these storages were designed to manage floods. They simply store water for various uses – mainly irrigation, and in some cases drinking water. They have fixed crest spillways, so that once they are full any excess water coming into the reservoir will flow over the spillway into the river or creek downstream. Therefore Southern Rural Water does not have the ability to deliberately surcharge (over full) the dams.

The reservoirs do not have ability to pre-release enough water to have an effect on a possible flood, but they can help reduce flood peaks a little by temporarily storing water if they have room. None of them are large storages, however once they are full, they have little impact on flows.

Keep Clear of Infrastructure

During high river flows we urged all visitors to stay well away from any infrastructure, especially the spillways, please:

  • Follow any requests from Southern Rural Water staff.
  • Take note of signage and fencing.
  • Stay away from any prohibited areas, particularly the dam walls and spillways.

Playing on or near a spillway during a flood is a recipe for disaster.

We strongly recommend that if you are in a flood prone area that you and your family familiarise yourself with the SES’s “Flood Safe information brochure” and take all necessary precautions.

More Information

Call 132 500 for emergency SES assistance during a flood or storm.
Listen to your local ABC radio station for flood warnings and updates.
For weather information and warnings visit the Bureau of Meteorology.
For further information visit the SES.


Location

The Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District (BMID) is located around the community of Bacchus Marsh, some 55 km north-west of Melbourne on a flood plain of the Werribee River.

At the time of European settlement, this region was a large swamp. It is now a highly developed agricultural district specialising in horticulture and market gardening.


Entering your meter readings - BMID

You can now enter your own meter readings by phoning our 24 hour Waterline service on 1300 360 117 or online at www.srw.com.au/worder.

This service allows you to manage your water entitlement effectively and accurately. By getting rid of the ordered estimate section on your Water Usage Reports, you will have a better idea of your total water usage to date.

To enter your meter readings online:

1. visit www.srw.com.au/worder
2. Type in your user and pin number
3. Select “Usage” from the top menu
4. Select “Meter Reading Entry”
5. Select “Service Point” from the drop down list
6. Select “Pick Date”
7. Enter date of your meter reading
8. Enter the time of your meter reading from the drop down boxes (hours and minutes)
9. Select “Close”
10. Enter your meter reading
11. Select “Submit” to complete the process

To enter your meter readings by phone:

1. Dial 1300 360 117 and follow the voice prompts
2. Enter your user number then press #
3. Enter your pin number then press #
4. Enter 7 – to enter your meter readings
5. Select 1# “Enter Meter Reading”
6. Select your service point
7. Enter time then press #
8. Enter date then press #
9. Enter reading then press #
10. To log meter reading enter 1#
11. To replay this meter reading enter 2#
12. To discard this meter reading enter 0#

More information
For more information, contact us on 1300 139 510 or your planner on 1300 360 117

Download Factsheet


A guide to your water usage report - BMID

Your Water Usage Report provides up-to-date information about your water shares (high and low reliability), current available allocations, and water usage details.

They are available from SRW’s online water ordering centre at www.srw.com.au/wonder or by contacting your planner on 1300 360 117

To access your Water Usage Report online follow the instructions below:

1. go to www.srw.com.au/wonder

2. Enter your allocated user and pin number. If you do not know your user and pin number, contact our customer service centre on 1300 139 510

3. Select “Usae” from the top menu, then select “Allocation”

4. All of your services will be listed on the screen. Select “View Statement” on the right side for the services you wish view.

An explanation of your Water Usage Report as it appears on the screen is shown overleaf.

Keep your contact details up to date

As SRW needs to contact customers from time to time, you should always keep your details up to date – in particular your mailing address, phone, fax and email details. This is especially important if you change sharefarmers or if you are a sharefarmer and move to a different property. If you need to change your contact details please contact our customer service centre on 1300 139 510.

More information For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or your planner on 1300 360 117

How to read your water usage report

Download Factsheet


Watershare & allocation trading - BMID

Why trade water?

Water in the Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District is fully allocated; therefore no new water is available.

To help make the most of water on hand, we ask anyone who does not plan to use their water to consider trading to others in the area.

Water trading can help to:

• reduce your water bill
• provide additional income
• maximise productivity for the district
• build the local economy.

As a purchaser, water trading can help to meet your needs during a dry spell, or when your existing allocation is not
enough.

What types of trades are available?

Allocation Trade

You can trade any unused allocation from your Allocation Bank Account (ABA). These trades are for one season only and finish on 30 June each year. Water must be used by 30 June in the season in which the trade occurred. If this water remains unused at 30 June it will be returned to the communal pool for allocation the following year.

Limited Term Transfer

This is where you lease your water share to someone else for a set period of time. The transfer period can be from 1 year to 20 years, and the transfer does not change the legal ownership of the water share, A Limited Term Transfer will remain in place until it expires or is surrendered; even if the water share is transferred permanently (see below).

The lessee is called the holder of the Limited Term Transfer, and is the only person who can surrender or cancel the Limited Term Water Share Transfer before its expiry date. Any allocations held by the seller at the time of the transfer remain in the seller’s ABA, but can be traded by the seller via an Allocation Trade (see above). Any further allocations will be added to the holder’s ABA.

Permanent Transfer

This is when you sell all or part of a water share. The legal ownership of the water share changes, but any existing Limited Term Transfers against that water share will remain in place until they either expire or are surrendered.

Delivery Share Transfer

This is the permanent transfer of all or part of your delivery share. Restrictions apply where a delivery share can be traded within the district, as they directly relate to and influence the capacity of each of the delivery systems in the district.

How are prices set for water trades?

The price for the water needs to be negotiated between the seller and buyer. Southern Rural Water does not play a role in trading price negotiations.

Statistics on past trades and transfer prices can be obtained from the Victorian Water Register www.waterregister.vic.gov.au.

Are there any application fees?

For information about fees, please contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au.

How can I find a buyer or seller of water?

There are many ways to find buyers and sellers of water. You could advertise in the local paper, talk to your neighbour or use a trading exchange.

Water trading exchanges operate throughout Victoria and link buyers and sellers who have lodged compatible bids. The following trading exchanges operate in our irrigation areas:

Watermove – www.watermove.com.au

Waterfind – www.waterfind.com.au

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au.

Download Factsheet


Things you need to do when buying a new property

If you are thinking about buying a property with a water licence or entitlement, read this first.

Beware, licences or water shares are not always transferred on the sale of property

A water licence or allocation may not automatically transfer with the sale of a property. We strongly suggest that this is clarified with your agent or solicitor and noted in the contract of sale prior to signing property purchase documents.

This includes water from:

  • irrigation channels
  • drains
  • rivers
  • bores
  • farm dams
  • domestic and stock licences

Make sure you, your solicitor or agent applies for an Information Statement. This will verify details about:

  • existing licences, (inc drainage diversion agreements) conditions and encumbrances
  • property location
  • licensed volume and use (from a river, dam or bore)
  • water shares and allocation (if in an irrigation district)
  • delivery shares and water use licences/registrations (if in an irrigation district)
  • tariffs applicable
  • any outstanding debt

A properly completed transfer application form must be submitted to Southern Rural Water before a licence or water share will be transferred regardless of what appears in a sale contract. Without the approval from Southern Rural Water, you will have no legal access to water.

What do I do if I don’t have the authority to take and use water?

You need to follow up with your solicitor or agent and check whether the licence or water entitlement was included in the contract of sale. If it was then you will need to complete an application form to transfer the entitlement. All current licence holders (the seller) as well as all proposed new licence holders (the buyer) must sign this form.

If the licence wasn’t included in the contract of sale, you should phone Southern Rural Water on 1300 139 510. You may be able to obtain a new licence, depending on your location. Otherwise you will need to secure a volume or entitlement through a temporary or permanent transfer.

All applications need to be submitted to Southern Rural Water for assessment. Transfer applications are not always approved.

More information
For more information, application forms or fact sheets, phone SRW on 1300 139 510 or visit our website www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


Things you need to do when selling or advertising a property for sale

If you are thinking about selling or advertising a property for sale with a water licence or entitlement, read this first. You may be able to keep your licence even though you are selling your land.

Be clear about what you are selling or advertising

Make sure you, your solicitor or agent applies for an Information Statement. This will verify details about:

  • existing licences, conditions and encumbrances
  • property location
  • licensed volume and use (from a river, dam or bore)
  • water allocation (if in an irrigation district)
  • works that are required to be carried out
  • tariffs applicable
  • any outstanding debt

Be clear about what you are selling. We strongly suggest that this is clarified with your agent or solicitor and noted in the con- tract of sale before advertising the property.

This includes water from:

  • irrigation channels
  • drains
  • rivers
  • bores
  • farm dams
  • domestic and stock licences

A properly completed transfer application form must be submitted to Southern Rural Water before a licence or water share can be considered for transfer. Without the approval from Southern Rural Water, the new purchaser will have no legal access to water. All current licence holders (the seller) as well as all proposed new licence holders (the buyer) must sign this form.

All applications need to be submitted to Southern Rural Water for assessment. Transfer applications are not always approved. 

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet


SRW's role during floods in Werribee and Bacchus March

Water storages in the area are not designed to manage floods

Southern Rural Water helps to provide river flow information during floods

Please keep clear of dams and spillways during floods

The Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation Districts rely on three major storages upstream, all managed by Southern Rural Water:

• Pykes Creek Reservoir, which has a capacity of 22,119 megalitres (ML)
• Melton Reservoir, which has a capacity of 14,340 ML
• Merrimu Reservoir, which has a capacity of 32,215 ML

None of these storages were designed to manage floods. They simply store water for various uses – mainly irrigation, and in some cases drinking water. They have fixed crest spillways, so that once they are full any excess water coming into the reservoir will flow over the spillway into the river or creek downstream. Therefore Southern Rural Water does not have the ability to deliberately surcharge (over full) the dams.

The reservoirs do not have ability to pre-release enough water to have an effect on a possible flood, but they can help reduce flood peaks a little by temporarily storing water if they have room. None of them are large storages, however, once they are full, they have little impact on flows.

Southern Rural Water provides weekly updates on its website (www.srw.com.au) about the water levels in local storages and also has a web page which has links to Bureau rainfall forecasts, flood warnings, river levels and emergency assistance provided by the SES.

Keep clear of infrastructure

During high river flows we urged all visitors to stay well away from any infrastructure, especially the spillways.

Please:

• follow any requests from Southern Rural Water staff
• take note of signage and fencing, and
• stay away from any prohibited areas, particularly the dam walls and spillways.

Playing on or near a spillway during a flood is a recipe for disaster.

We strongly recommend that if you are in a flood prone area that you and your family familiarise yourself with the SES’s
“Flood Safe information brochure” and take all necessary precautions.on.

More information 
Contact us on 1300 139 510 for more information or to make an appointment to chat to one of our assemssment staff. More information can also be found at www.srw.com.au

Download Factsheet

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