Upcoming irrigation water availability



Wednesday 18 May 2022


Upcoming irrigation water availability update

Welcome to the first edition of the Upcoming Irrigation Water Availability Update for 2022-23.  It’s great to have such a positive outlook for the southern Basin irrigation water supply for 2022-23.  As a result of the positive outlook and high storages, this email service is only likely to be released every few weeks (or after significant events), this season.

Thanks to all those subscribers who provided feedback on the pilot 2021-22 Upcoming Irrigation Water Availability service.  The feedback was very positive, and your comments have been taken onboard.  Hopefully these 2022-23 updates will provide useful information that assists with anticipating upcoming irrigation water availability and with earlier and more informed farm management decision making.

In this update:

  1. Summary
  2. MDBA Active Storage
  3. Allocation outlooks – 2022-23
  4. Carryover volumes
  5. Risk of spill and how it relates to your carryover
  6. Storage volumes
  7. Catchment condition
  8. Climate outlook
  9. Useful web sites


  • Key southern Basin storages are well above this time last year.
  • The MDBA Active storage was the highest start to May volume recorded in the last 22 years.
  • With average inflows, water allocation outlooks are for 100% HRWS on the Vic Murray by 1 July 2022, 100% HRWS on the Goulburn by 17 October, and 110% GS on the NSW Murray by 1 November 2022.
  • Southern Basin carryover volumes into 2022-23 are expected to be about 600GL higher than volumes carried over into this season (2021-22).
  • The risk of spill needs to be factored into carryover decisions.
  • The current BoM outlook is for greater than a 75% chance of exceeding median rainfall for much of northern Victoria for June to August, at this stage.



The active storage volume (Lakes Hume, Dartmouth, Victoria and Menindee) continues to trend well above the long-term average for this time of year and is about 4,100 GL more than for the same time last year.  Active storage was the highest start of May volume recorded in the last 22 years.  Source:  MDBA.

Source:  MDBA.



Current Victorian Murray, Goulburn, NSW Murray, Murrumbidgee and SA allocation outlooks are summarised in the table below.

Outlook for SMDB water allocations

Average inflow scenario

Vic:  Inflows greater in 50 years in 100

NSW:  Inflows greater in 50 years in 100

Dry inflow scenario

Vic:  Inflows greater in 90 years in 100

NSW:  Inflows greater in 75 years in 100

Vic Murray – HRWS                         15 Aug 2022 100% 100%
Vic Goulburn – HRWS                     15 Aug 2022 88% 58%
NSW Murray – HS It is forecast that a high security allocation of 97% is likely.
NSW Murray – GS*                            1 Nov 2022 110% 51%
Murrumbidgee – HS It is forecast that a high security allocation of 95% is likely.
Murrumbidgee – GS*                        1 Nov 2022 52% 51%
South Australia – class 3 HS# The projected minimum opening allocation is 100%

* Potential storage spills resulting in limited allocation improvement.  Further allocation improvements in median and wet scenarios may be driven by water usage rather than inflows.

# Carryover will not be available for SA Murray irrigators in 2021/22 – with the projected minimum opening allocation being greater than 50%, the carryover from 2021-22 is not available.

Wetter than average inflow conditions for a sustained period are needed in the Murray and Campaspe system before LRWS allocations can commence. In the Goulburn, inflows need to be closer to the wet outlook scenario.  Source: NVRM.

Water allocation outlooks for other irrigation regions are available on the Victorian NVRM or NSW DPE web sites.



Estimated carryover volumes                                

Estimated carry-over into 2022-23 


Carry-over into 2021-22 (last year)


Vic Murray 900                              Source 725                  Source
Vic Goulburn 900                              Source 790                  Source
NSW Murray 838                              This is the maximum 50% GS. 650                  39% GS
Murrumbidgee 680*                             This is the maximum 30% GS. 530                  28% GS
Total 3,318 2,695

* Carryover and conveyance.


  • The Goulburn system risk of spill in 2022/23 is currently about 70 per cent and about 40 per cent in the Campaspe system.
  • Victoria’s share of Hume and Dartmouth are both full, which means flows in the Murray system would need to be extremely low to avoid a deduction from spillable water accounts in 2022/23.
  • Scenarios where LRWS are allocated in the Murray and Goulburn systems will see deductions from spillable water accounts.
  • Further deductions from spillable water accounts are possible in June 2022 if flows into Lake Hume during May cannot be stored in Victoria’s share.
  • Any water remaining in spillable water accounts on 10 June 2022 will be returned to allocation accounts.
  • If you would like to work out how spill affects your carry over into next season, this CarryOver Calculator might be useful.

Main sources:  NVRM Current risk of spillNVRM Current Outlook.



Individual storage volumes and weekly change

Sources:  GMW.   BoM.   MDBA River Murray Weekly Report-for Lake Eucumbene data.


System storage volumes and weekly change

Sources:  GMW.   BoM.



Relative long-term root zone soil moisture levels for much of the upper-Murray and Goulburn system are shown to be average, according to the BoM graph and map below.

Relative root zone soil moisture – upper Murray

Source: BoM.


Relative root zone soil moisture – Goulburn catchment



The BoM map below currently shows greater than a 75% chance of exceeding median rainfall for much of northern Victoria for June to August, at this stage.

The chance of above median rainfall for June to August

Source:  BoM.


USEFUL WEB SITES – for 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 dataGraphs 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 VicCurrent 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 BreakA 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 management 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.

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.


To unsubscribe, please respond to robert.oconnor@agriculture.vic.gov.au

Robert O’Connor
Senior Irrigation Officer.  Biosecurity and Agricultural Services Branch
Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
P.O. Box 441, Echuca, VIC, 3564
M: 0408 515 652

T: 03 5483 1922  | F: 03 5482 5405  Currently working from home.



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