January 2018

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.

For a weekly snapshot you can now download the Department's Fortnightly Water Report on the Water Register website.

Rainfall

Rainfall in January was 16% below average for the State as a whole, but heavy rain at times during the last week of the month resulted in average to above average totals in some central and northern districts, and parts of East Gippsland. Wangaratta had its highest January daily rainfall on record on 28 January.

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Streamflows

At the end of January, the highest streamflows were recorded at Snowy Creek at Granite Flat and Goulburn River at Doherty’s, at 137% and 134% of the January long term average respectively. Other high streamflow sites included Sunday Creek at Tallarook, Macalister River at Glencairn and Rose River at Matong North. Moderate streamflows were recorded in the south, east and south east of the State at sites including Merri River at Woodford, Mitchell River at Glenaladale and Glenelg River at Sandford.  Eleven of the 28 representative stations recorded flows less than 10% of the long-term average for January, predominantly in the north west and west of the State, including 9 sites where zero flow was recorded.

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Storage levels

The total volume of water held in Victoria's major storages decreased by 5.0% during January, ending the month at 70.7% capacity. Decreases were recorded in all 16 monitored systems, with the Thomson/Macalister and Broken systems recording the largest percentage falls of 12.6% and 9.2% respectively. There was a 6.8% reduction in the storage volumes in the Victorian Murray system.

Victoria’s regional storage levels decreased by 5.5% to 71.3% of capacity during January. Melbourne’s storage levels decreased by 1.8% to 67.5% of capacity over the same period. Victoria’s major storages were 7.0% lower than at the same time last year.

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Groundwater

Groundwater is reported quarterly. The next update will be March 2017.

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Urban water restrictions

There were no towns on water restrictions at the end of January All Victorian towns are subject to Permanent Water Saving Rules.

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Irrigation allocations

Seasonal determinations in all GMW systems remained at 100% High Reliability Water Share (HRWS) from the previous monthly report. There was no change to Low Reliability Water Share (LRWS) in the GMW system from the previous monthly report, other than for the Campaspe system where there was a 3% increase in LRWS.

The HRWS allocation for the Werribee/Bacchus Marsh District stands at 45% and at 100% for the Macalister Irrigation District, representing no change since the previous monthly report.

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Restrictions on diversions 

At the end of January, there were 67 unregulated streams subject to diversion restrictions across Victoria, eight more than reported at the end of December. This time last year, there were 58 waterways subject to restrictions.

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Seasonal climate outlook

The BoM released its February to April 2018 climate outlook on 25 January 2018. The rainfall outlook indicates that a wetter than average February to April is likely for most of Victoria. February is likely to be wetter than average with a greater than 70% chance of exceeding average rainfall in eastern Victoria. February to April temperatures are likely to be cooler than average for most of Victoria with a change of above average temperatures likely in south-western Victoria.

The BoM released its latest El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Wrap-Up on 30 January 2018. A weak La Niña continues in the Pacific Ocean, but may have peaked in recent weeks. Sea surface temperatures in the central tropical Pacific have warmed slightly since late December, with most models now forecasting that La Niña will end in the southern autumn.

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Water for the environment

This section of the Monthly Water Report contains monthly updates on environmental entitlements. Environmental use is reported quarterly, with the next update due March 2018.