The Monthly Water Report provides a summary of the status of Victoria's water resources and water supplies at the end of the reporting month. It is based on validated water resource information provided by Victoria's 19 Urban and Rural Water Corporations and the Bureau of Meteorology. Each month's report is published online the following month. For detailed, specific and up-to-date information, please contact the relevant Water Corporation or the Bureau of Meteorology. Links to these organisations are located within the Monthly Water Report.
December 2019 was Victoria's third driest December on record, with below to very much below average rainfall recorded across most of the state. Eastern and most of western Victoria received very little rain, with large areas receiving less than 10 mm of rainfall for the whole month. The statewide average rainfall total was 78% below the December average of 48 mm; it was the third-lowest December rainfall total on record, and the lowest since 1972.
We are working on a new way to present the monthly streamflow update. While we do that please visit the Water Measurement Information System for up to date information on Victoria’s rivers and streams.
The total volume of water held in Victoria's major storages decreased by 4.2 percentage points during December, ending the month at 44.8% of capacity. Decreases were recorded in 52 monitored storages and increases were recorded at 15 storages.
Groundwater is reported quarterly; this update is for the 1 October to 31 December quarter.
Of the 11 water supply protection areas:
- in the short term (<5 years) groundwater level trends were categorised as: rising for 1, declining for 7 areas, and stable for 3 areas when compared to levels recorded five years ago.
- the long term (>10 years) groundwater level trends were categorised as: rising for 2 areas, declining in 3 and stable in 6 areas (Figure 9 and Table 1) when compared to levels recorded ten years ago
Of the 44 groundwater management areas:
- in the short term (<5 years) groundwater level trends were categorised as: rising in 3 areas, declining in 23 areas and stable in 14 areas when compared to levels recorded five years ago.
- There was insufficient information (through a lack of State Observation Bore Network data) to determine a trend in the remaining 4 areas
- the long term (>10 years) groundwater level trends were categorised as: rising in 5 areas, declining in 17 areas and stable in 16 areas when compared to levels recorded ten years ago.
- There was insufficient information (through a lack of State Observation Bore Network data) to determine a trend in the remaining 6 areas
Urban water restrictions
As at end of December 2019, 2 towns were on stage 2 restrictions and 4 were on stage 1 restrictions. Stage 2 restrictions were in place for Euroa and Violet Town (since 11 April 2019) and stage 1 restrictions were place in Mildura, Swan Hill, Kerang and Red Cliffs (since 21 November). All other towns were subject to Permanent Water Saving Rules in December.
This time last year all towns were subject to Permanent Water Saving Rules but no towns were on water restrictions.
Seasonal Allocation Determinations
Seasonal allocation determinations are made by the respective water corporation resource managers and are made effective in the Victorian Water Register by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
As at end December 2019, allocations in the northern systems increased in the Murray, Goulburn, Loddon and Campaspe systems. The Broken System remained at 0% and Bullarook at 100%. Allocations for high-reliability water shares remained at 100% in the Macalister Irrigation District, and 20% of allocation for low reliability water shares was made available. Allocations for low and high reliability water shares remained the same in the Werribee/Bacchus Marsh district. The Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline Product also increased in the north-west to 36%.
Restrictions on diversions
At the end of December, there were 127 unregulated streams subject to diversion restrictions across Victoria, 56 more than November. This time last year, there were 101 waterways subject to restrictions.
Seasonal climate outlook
The 24 December 2019 El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Wrap-Up reported that the positive Indian Ocean Dipole continued to weaken while the ENSO remained neutral.
The Bureau of Meteorology released its January to March 2020 outlook on 19 December 2019. The outlook reported that although the Christmas-New Year period was likely to be drier than average for much of the north and east, most of the country had roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average three months.
Water for the environment
The Victorian Environmental Water Holder's (VEWH) Seasonal Watering Plan 2019-20 is the major planning document for environmental watering in Victoria in the 2019-20 fiscal year. The plan is based on seasonal watering proposals developed by catchment management authorities and Melbourne Water in consultation with local communities and other partner agencies. The VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2019-20 and information on environmental water being delivered across Victoria can be found on the VEWH website.
Up to date information can be found on:
- the Victorian Water Register's website where all environmental water entitlements held by the VEWH can be searched; and
- DELWP's environmental entitlements webpage for general information.