Upcoming irrigation water availability – sMDB

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Upcoming irrigation water availability update – pilot

This aim of this service is to reduce some of the uncertainty about upcoming irrigation water availability in the connected sMDB and to assist with earlier and more informed farm management decision making.

This is the final ‘Upcoming irrigation water availability update’ for 2021.  Whether or not this service resumes in 2022 will depend on your feedback.  A big THANK YOU for your participation and support of this pilot!


In this update:

  1. Summary.
  2. Recent rainfall and where it fell relative to major storages.
  3. Streamflow response.
  4. Forecast rainfall.
  5. Catchment condition.
  6. Climate outlook.
  7. Climate driver update.
  8. Will we get LRWS this season?
  9. Hume Dam releases.
  10. NSW supplementary water access.
  11. Delivery risks in the Murray system.
  12. Storage volumes.
  13. Useful web sites.




  • Very light rain fell on the irrigated plains and in the upper-Murray, whilst ‘light to moderate’ rain fell in the upper-Goulburn, in the past 7 days.
  • Reasonable streamflows have continued at key sites in the upper Goulburn and upper Murray.
  • Volumes continued to increase in Lake Dartmouth (19GL) and Lake Eildon (31GL), in the past week.
  • While it seems unlikely we will receive low-reliability water share allocation on the Goulburn and Murray systems, anything can happen!

2.  RECENT RAINFALL and where it fell relative to major storages

 Rainfall recorded over the last 7 days, to 9am Thursday 28th October

Data source:  BoM.


Rainfall over the last 7 days is also shown in the BoM rainfall map below.




Data source:  BoM

Jingellic – on the Murray River above Hume Dam, but below Snowy Hydro.

McCallums – on the Tallangatta Creek, above Hume Dam.

Hinnomunjie – on the Mitta Mitta River, above Lake Dartmouth.

Gibbo Park – on the Gibbo River, above Lake Dartmouth.


Data source:  BoM.

Doherty’s – on the Goulburn River, above Lake Eildon.

Jamieson – on the Big River, above Lake Eildon.

Glen Esk – on the Howqua River, above Lake Eildon.

Devlins Bridge – on the Yea River, below Lake Eildon.


The MDBA graph below shows the total Murray system ‘5-day rolling average’ daily inflows continued to recede to rates just below the October long-term average in the 7-day period leading up to 20th October.

Source: MDBA River Murray Weekly report.

 Streamflow data for the Broken, Campaspe, Loddon and Bullarook systems is also available on the GMW and BoM websites.


The BoM 4-day forecast is for 1-10mm for much of the irrigated plains and 5-15mm for much of the upper-Murray and upper-Goulburn catchments, at this stage.

The BoM eight-day forecast is for 15-50mm for much of the irrigated plains and 15-50mm for much of the upper Murray and upper Goulburn catchments, at this stage.



The Bom upper Murray root zone soil moisture graph below uses modelled data and shows that the upper Murray catchment is drying out.

Similar BoM root zone soil moisture graphs and maps are available for the Goulburn, Campaspe, Broken and Loddon catchments.


The BoM released their climate outlook today.  The map below shows a 65 – 70% chance of exceeding median rainfall in November to January for most of the GMID and associated upper catchments.

Source: BoM.



The BoM released their climate driver update earlier this week.  The LaNina alert continues, with about a 70% likelihood of a LaNina developing.  Most international climate models surveyed by the BoM indicate weak La Niña conditions are likely for the coming months. La Niña events increase the chances of above-average rainfall for eastern Australia during spring and summer.


The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) remains in a negative phase.  Models suggest the IOD will return to neutral levels in late spring or early summer.  A negative IOD increases the chances of above-average spring rainfall for much of southern and eastern Australia.


The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index returned to positive levels over the past week. It is forecast to remain generally at positive levels to the end of the year.  A positive SAM during spring typically brings wetter weather to eastern parts of Australia.



There are a few factors that need to be considered in answering the above question about whether allocations will be made against Low Reliability Water Shares this season, or not – mainly relating to the Vic Murray and Goulburn systems:

  • Before LRWS is allocated, next year’s HRWS allocations need to be secured, based on minimal future inflows. See the storage diagram below – it fills from the bottom!
  • In the last Seasonal Determination (15th October), the Northern Victoria Resource Manager indicated there needs to be another 600 GL on the Goulburn system before a LRWS can be allocated.
  • For the Murray system, the additional volume required to make a low-reliability water share seasonal determination will be given in the next Seasonal Determination update (15th November).
  • Typically, inflows into key storages drop markedly after October. See the Murray System Daily Inflows graph above, specifically the “long-term average” inflow trace.
  • For some perspective, in an average scenario, November inflows into Lake Eildon total about 100GL.  Where-as in a wet scenario, November inflows into Lake Eildon total about 180GL.  Source:  NVRM.
  • Although LRWS allocations seem unlikely this year, anything can happen, particularly with a positive rainfall outlook!
  • If LRWS is allocated, more water will be ‘locked up’ in the spillable water account until it is released when a ‘low risk of spill’ is announced, or is ‘lost’ due to spill.  Use this Victorian Water Register Carryover Calculator to test different scenarios for your unique carryover situation. 


How water is allocated on the Vic Murray and Goulburn systems.

Source: GMW.




For an update on recent Hume Dam operations watch this 2-minute MDBA Hume Dam Operations Video Update (updated yesterday, Wednesday).  The volume being released from Hume Dam (14 GL/day) is now greater than the flow rate into the dam (13 GL/day).  Water is being released to meet irrigation orders and downstream environmental targets.



Supplementary water access for the NSW Murray Valley:  Unregulated flows have ceased in the upper reaches of the Murray (Hume Dam to Barmah), whilst most reaches downstream have been extended to 2nd November.  Inflows from Murray tributaries in the Ovens, Kiewa and Goulburn River have continued to recede.

Supplementary water access in the Murrumbidgee River has been approved.  System demand is increasing and unregulated flows will cease in the upper reaches while downstream reaches have been extended (to 29th October).  Releases from Burrinjuck Dam have reduced and inflows from the tributaries are also receding.



A report titled “Managing Delivery Risks in the River Murray System – What We Heard” was released earlier this week by DELWP.  The report captures feedback form Victorian stakeholders related to delivery risk and the next steps for the Victorian Government.  The difference between a one-week weather forecast and three-to-four-week travel times from the storages to water users below the Barmah Choke, means a shortfall risk will always exist.  Unfortunately, the delivery risk is likely to increase as the capacity of the Choke continues to decrease.



The graph below shows how the Active Storage volume has changed over the years, how it is shared between States and that the current volume is as high as it’s been since September 2013.

Active Storage volume – Dartmouth, Hume, L Victoria and Menindee Lakes.

Source:  WaterNSW Waterinsights.


 Individual storage volumes and weekly change

* Eucumbene:  20 Oct.  Active storage

Sources:  BoM.   River Murray Weekly Report.


 System storage volumes and weekly change

Source:  BoM.  




USEFUL WEB SITESfor more information related to upcoming irrigation water availability



Recent rainfall.  Map.  Rainfall for the past day, week or months.  BoM

Recent rainfall.  For select Victorian locations.  Past 7 days. BoM

Rainfall since 9am.  Updated every half hour.  For select locations.  Rainfall (temperaturre and wind) shown on map as coloured text.  Click on “weather observations” (bottom right of screen).  Double click on the weather station (location) on the map for more details.  “Rain radar” web site.  BoM

Forecast rainfall.  Map.  For next 4-day or 8-day period, or for any particular day over the next 5 days.  BoM

Forecast rainfall.  For nominated locations. 7-day outlook.  Forecast rainfall (wind and temperature) given in 3-hour windows.  “MetEye” web site.  BoM

MDBA Weekly River Murray Report.  Provides a weekly review of rainfall and lots of other important updates for the connected southern MDB


Streamflow response and inflows

Murray system.  MDBA Weekly Report.  Inflow graphs are at the back of the report.  Compares recent inflows with long-term averages.  Weekly streamflow response commentary is also provided at the front of the report

Murray system.  Click on a site (eg.Hinnomunjie or Jingellic) and select the “Flow” tab.  Updated daily.  MDBA

Goulburn system.  Doherty’s, Jamieson, Gerrans Bridge and Glen Esk are some monitoring sites above Lake Eildon.  Updated daily.  GMW

Goulburn Murray storage inflow data.  Graphs of relative monthly inflows.  Analysis of monthly and year-to-date inflows.  NVRM

Campaspe, Broken, Loddon, Ovens and Kiewa Basins.  Updated through the day.  GMW

River flood condition.  Current.  Graphs of recent river height relative to minor, moderate and major flood levels.  BoM

Flood class level.  Shows minor, moderate and major flood levels for different monitoring sites.  BoM

Annual streamflow differences and streamflow data.  For many Australian locations (“Hydrological Reference Stations”.)  Daily, monthly and annual streamflow data and analysis.  BoM

Water data online.  Shows flow data (often measured as cubic metres per second “cumec”!) and useful analysis including monthly mean flows for hydrologic reference stations around Australia.  BoM

Surface water monitoring sites.  Vic.  Stream level.  Streamflow data and reports.  DELWP

Streamflow – NSW.  Shows current, historical and forecast flow rates and river levels for NSW river gauges.  (Select a location on the map and choose the “gauges” tab.)  Water Insights.  WaterNSW


Streamflow forecasts

Seasonal streamflow forecast.  Up to 3-month forecast.  eg.  Forecast inflows for Lakes Hume, Dartmouth, Eildon, Eppalock or Nillahcootie.  BoM

7-day streamflow forecast.  eg. For locations in the upper-Murray, upper-Goulburn, Campaspe or Loddon.  BoM

Murray system.  Click on a site (eg. Hinnomunjie or Jingelic) and select the “Flow Forecast” tab.  7-day forecast.  MDBA



Catchment condition

Current relative long-term rootzone soil moisture.  Map and graph.  eg. Type “Upper Murray River,” “Goulburn River” or “Broken River” into the Search Bar.  BoM


Seasonal water determinations

Current Northern Vic allocations.  Current allocations for the different Northern Victorian irrigation systems.  NVRM

Historical Northern Vic allocations. Historical allocations data for the different Northern Victorian irrigation systems, back to 1994-95.  NVRM

Current and historical NSW allocations.  Water Alloction Statements, iIncluding NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee.  DPIE

Current and historical SA allocations.  Water Allocation Statements and pre-season announcements.  DEW

MDBA Weekly River Murray Update.  Summary of current water allocations for different vallies in the sMDB, usually on the last page of the report


Water allocation outlooks

Northern Vic.  Current outlook for the different Northern Vic irrigation systems.  NVRM

NSW.  Includes NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee.  The water outlook is included in the relevant Water Allocation Statements, usually on the back page of the report.  DPIE

Northern Vic Water Balance (“rocket”) diagrams.   Graph showing a breakdown of the water in store and water commitments, for each Northern Vic irrigation district.  NVRM


Climate outlook

Climate outlook.  Weeks, months and seasons.  BoM

Climate Driver Update.  Over-all summary.  Pacific Ocean.  Indian Ocean.  Southern Ocean.  Sea surface.  Issued fortnightly.  BoM

Outlook scenario for rainfall amount.  Map showing chance of rainfall amount for next week, fortnight, month or 3-month period.  BoM

Chance of at least (rainfall).  Map showing probabilities of receiving a specified amount of rain for next week, fortnight, month or 3-month period.  BoM

The Fast Break.  A farmer-oriented update of seasonal climate drivers and outlooks, including a summary of rainfall predictions for the next 3 months from 12 different climate models.  AgVic

Climate driver tool.  Interactive tool that enables you to explore how rainfall at your selected location has been influenced by different climate driver phases, in the past.  The tool also provides analysis of long-term rainfall records.  AgVic, GRDC and SARDI


Weather warnings

Victorian warnings.  Summary of valid weather warnings issued, including floods.  BoM

River Height and flood class.  Provides data on current river height, flood class and whether rising, falling or steady.  Table and graphs.  BoM

Streamflow flooding and recent rainfall.  Shows river condition (flooding) for monitoring sites across catchments.  Map.  BoM


Water storage

MDBA River Murray Weekly Report (produced on Fridays):
– Graph showing ‘MDB Active Storage’, recent and over the last 20 years.  This graph only appears monthly, usually in the first week of the month
– A summary of storage volumes and weekly volume changes for southern MDB storages are given in tables (usually on about page 3)

Northern Vic Resource Manager.  Provides a breakdown of volumes currently available in allocation accounts, new allocation volumes in the current season, volumes carried over into the season, volumes in spillable accounts and net trade – for each irrigation district and for private, environmental and Water Corp holdings

Goulburn Murray storages.  Shows current storage levels, weekly change and storage at the same time last year,  for Murray, Goulburn, Ovens, Broken, Campaspe, Loddon and Bullarook storages.  Graphs of storage levels this year, compared to previous years are shown.  Updated regularly.  GMW web site

Goulburn Murray storages.  Shows storage level graphs and data for Murray, Goulburn, Ovens, Broken, Campaspe, Loddon, Kiewa and Bullarook storages.  Updated every 15 minutes.  GMW

Goulburn Murray storages.  Shows graphs and data for observed volume, level and percentage full for GM storages.  (Select ‘System Status Report’, choose which ‘Basin’, select ‘Storage’, then select your storage.) GMW

Murray storages.  Click on the storage (eg. Hume Dam) to get ‘percent full’ and current storage volumes.  This site is regularly updated.  MDBA

Murray Darling Basin storages.  Shows ‘percent full’ figures for storages in the Basin.  Also provides ‘percent full’ for ‘Southern Basin total.’  Updated fortnightly.  The fortnightly MD Basin Storage Report featuring a map with current MDB storage volumes, can be downloaded from this page.  MDBA

Murray Darling Basin storages.  Shows dam volume and ‘percent full’ figures for Basin storages, different systems (eg. Murray and Goulburn) compared to last year, and a break-down of how the water is shared (eg. private, environment, water corporation).  Updated regularly.  BoM

NSW storages.  Provides “percent full”, current volume, inflow and release data for NSW storages.  Updated regularly.  (Select a location and the “storage” tab.  Water Insights – WaterNSW

Archived Basin storage reports.  Provides an archive of fortnightly reports showing MDB water in storages, back to 2009.  MDBA.


Carryover volumes

Northern Vic Resource Manager.  Shows carryover volumes for each (Northern Vic) irrigation district

NSW.  Carryover percentages for NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee systems are usually included in the Water Allocation Statements (usually in a table on page 1).  DPIE

  1. SA. Developments regarding SA carryover and whether or not it is available in an irrigation season, are typically found in the pre-season announcements. DEW

Vic Carryover Tool.  To help you work through carryover scenarios for your unique Vic farm situation.  DELWP (Vic Water Register)


Water availability

Unused water – Vic.  Shows volume of carryover, allocation, use, net trade, write-off and a graph of unused available water in recent seasons for each northern Vic valley.  Vic Water Register.

Available water by owner type – Vic.  Shows carryover, allocation, trade and spill volumes for Vic valleys. Private, environment and Water Corp ownership categories.  Current and previous years.  Scroll down for Further Insights.  Vic Water Register

Water allocated and used – NSW.  Shows the volume of water allocated and used against entitlement type and ownership class.  This information is shown for the current year or previous years. (Select a location and click on the “allocation” or the “historical” tab.)  Water Insights.  WaterNSW

River Murray flow and use in SA.  Shows river flow into SA and a break-down of water use.  Updated quraterly.  SA Dept of Env and Water

River Murray Water Calculator – SA.   Shows SA allocation and entitlement volumes for different water classes under different water availability scenarios.  SA Dept of Env and Water


District water use and trade – Northern Vic

District Water Use.  Water used in different Northen Victorian irrigation districts by private, environment and water corp owners.  NVRM web site

Net Trade for Districts.  Trade in and trade out, for different Northen Victorian irrigation districts by private, environment and water corp owners.  NVRM web site

Water available by owner type.  Vic district carryover, allocation, trade and spill volumes.  Vic Water Register


Risk of spill announcements

Northern Victorian Resource Manager.  Sometimes the Vic risk of spill information is included in the Seasonal Outlook announcements


Current state shares in Murray storages

MDBA Storages.  Displays the shares of the MDBA “Active Storages” (Lakes Hume, Dartmouth, Menindee and Victoria) for Vic, NSW and SA.  This site also shows the relative “air space” for each share (Vic, NSW & SA).  Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the PDF for the latest update. MDBA


Intervalley trade (IVT)

Goulburn IVT 

Opportunity for allocation trade.  Interactive tool.  Vic Water Register web site

Planned monthly IVT transfers.  Scroll down to the heading “Planned Inter-Valley Trade Transfers.”  GMW web site

Goulburn to Murray trade rules.  Be carefult to stay informed about the latest changes to Goulburn to Murray trade rules.  Vic Water Register web site

Barmah Choke

Barmah Choke trade balance.  Current and historic trade balance data.  MDBA web site

Allocation trade opportunity.  Interactive tool.  Vic Water Register web site

Murrumbidgee IVT

IVT Status.  Provides the current Murrumbidgee IVT Account Balance, whether trade is open or closed and backgound information.  WaterNSW site

Annual plan for MDB IVT

MDBA River Murray System Annual Operating Outlooks. Outlines potential forward scenarios of IVT delivery for the irrigation season ahead – which can be useful if you want to gain a better understanding of how much water may be traded out of different valleys in the remainder of the season


Water Market Outlook

ABARES Dashboard.  Water Market Outlook for sMDB water allocation prices in 2021-22 for wet, average and dry scenarios.  Water market reports are also provided.


Water market updates

Subscribe to these weekly water market reports:

Weekly Water Market Report.  H2OX

Weekly Newsletter.  Ruralco

Weekly Water Report.  Waterfind

Weekly Water Wrap.  Waterpool


Aither also produce Monthly Water Market Insights (fee for service) and other water market reports.



This publication is provided solely for information purposes and no representation or warranty is made as to its quality, accuracy, completeness, suitability or fitness for any particular purpose. You should make your own inquiries as to its appropriateness and suitability for your particular circumstances.  The State of Victoria as represented by its Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions accepts no duty of care and disclaims all liability in relation to use of this publication.

Information in these updates is provided to assist irrigators make more informed and earlier farm maangement decisions related to upcoming irrigation water availability.  The information is NOT intended to assist with financial decision making related to water investment or water trade.

Please note, this service is a pilot.  The Department of Jobs, Precints and Regions has NOT developed a high level of experience in delivering this service, so there is an increased risk to users.  Due to a need for the release of timely information, this report is not subject to rigorous checking and approval procedures.  Figures provided in this report are entered manually and are subject to error.  Information in this report needs to be checked with other sources.




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