Select Page

Werribee

1917(µS/cm)

Electrical Conductivity (salinity) Werribee River

Electrical conductivity (ec) is measured in microsiemens per centimeter (µS/cm)
19 November 2018

History

Settlement of the Werribee Basin quickly followed the arrival of John Batman in 1835. By 1837 squatters had reached the Bacchus Marsh area and by 1840 most of the plains and foothills within the river basin were occupied.

The Werribee Irrigation Trust was formed in November 1888 following demands for alternative water supplies to avoid the consequences of severe droughts. It was to provide irrigation facilities for 595 hectares of land north of the Melbourne-Geelong railway line, adjacent to the township of Werribee. The Trust operated for only a few years before it failed financially. It was eventually abolished under the provisions of the Water Act of 1905.

In March 1906, the State Government’s Land Purchase and Management Board purchased 9,400 ha of the “Werribee Estate” to develop as an irrigation area and subdivide for closer settlement. Of this, 3,400 ha were later assessed as suitable for irrigation.

The Pykes Creek Reservoir, which was the initial storage for both the Werribee Irrigation District and the irrigation system upstream at Bacchus Marsh, was completed in 1911. The diversion weir on the Werribee River and the main channel of the irrigation district were completed in 1912 and a system of channels was constructed to supply water for domestic and stock purposes to non-irrigated areas within the old estate and for irrigation of around 265 hectares of land.

By 1914 the area of land that could be irrigated had been increased to 2,185 hectares. In 1916, Melton Reservoir was completed. Following this and the completion of other works, the Werribee Irrigation and Water Supply District was formed in October 1917 under the control of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission.

Construction of a surface drainage system began in 1920 for areas with poor sub-soils. The drainage system has since been extended and now serves nearly all the irrigation district and some land outside of it.

The final stage in the Werribee Basin storage system was put in place with the construction of Merrimu Reservoir in 1969-1986.

Operations

The WID now receives its irrigation supply from the combination of three storages at Pykes Creek, Merrimu Reservoir and Melton Reservoir. These storages now hold water from both the Werribee and Lerderderg River systems.

Following several years of extreme drought conditions, the WID Recycled Water Scheme was implemented in 2004 to supplement water supply.

Although a great deal of pipe-lining has been carried out as a result of urban development and the replacement of channels, much of the district remains open channel, including significant lengths of the main channel from the Werribee River.

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

Water is ordered by customers through Southern Rural Water’s Waterline ordering system and 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 by a Dethridge wheel on open channels or a standard flow meter on pipelines. From here it is directed by the customer, usually into storage dams and then into on-farm irrigation systems.

Prices for water in the Werribee 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.

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.

How can you 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.

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 it 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).

Farmer A – carry over illustration

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, and 80ML 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 $127.00 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 $63.50 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) $15,180.00
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) $10,870.00
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 $234.00
This fee apply to each service point associated with your delivery share, and reflect the costs of operating and maintaining your outlet.. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Metered Pump $117.00
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 $58.50  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  $204.00
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).  Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Metered Pump $102 
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. Where outlets are shared by more than one delivery share, the charge is calculated at 80% of the listed fee.

Unmetered  $52.25  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) $239.00

Casual Use (BMID) $256.00

Drainage diversion

Drainage Diversion (WID) $112.00
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) $112.00

Recycled water

Recycled water contracted rate $349.00

Location

The Werribee Irrigation District (WID) is one of Melbourne’s vegetable “gardens”, located on Melbourne’s doorstep in the estuarine flood plain of the Werribee River.

The region was settled immediately after the first arrivals in Melbourne of European settlers, and has been an important agricultural centre since the early 19th century.

Keep up to date and subscribe now

If you would like to receive newsletters from Southern Rural Water, please sign up here.