How is Irrigation Water Allocated?
Water is allocated each year for use during the irrigation season. The irrigation season in gravity channel areas normally extends from 15 August to 15 May. The irrigation season for private diverters (ie customers who divert water directly from a river) is usually between 1 July and 30 June.
The volume of water available for allocation at any time is the volume actually held in storages, minus up-front commitments, the losses incurred by the storage and delivery of water (eg seepage and evaporation). The up-front commitments include urban water supplies, environmental flows, and carryover when it is permitted.
The available water resources are assessed before the start of the irrigation season, and an announcement is made of the seasonal allocation available at that time. The available resources are then regularly reassessed during the irrigation season and any changes to the allocation are widely publicised. If rain has significantly increased inflows to the storages or reduced demand, the seasonal allocation is increased consistent with the above principles.
When seasonal allocations are low, the probabilities of future seasonal allocations are also published to allow irrigators to understand the chances of better allocations being available later on.
For more information on Victoria's water allocation framework, please visit www.water.vic.gov.au.