Water storages OK, despite dry June

Only 1mm of rain fell at Glenn Trewick's Elmore farm in June, causing a big impact on crops, such as this wheat one, which should be double its current size. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
Only 1mm of rain fell at Glenn Trewick's Elmore farm in June, causing a big impact on crops, such as this wheat one, which should be double its current size. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

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Water storages are looking good, according to Coliban Water, despite a month of very little rainfall and a record-breaking June.

Victoria had its driest June on record, smashing the previous record-low of an average of 22mm in 1944.

Just 2.4mm fell in Bendigo, 5.1mm in Maryborough, 9.8mm in Kyneton and a tiny 1.2mm in both Echuca and Kerang. 

Despite these record-breaking figures, Coliban Water will today announce its 2017/2018 rural season water allocation will open at 100 per cent.

Coliban raw water supply manager Steven Healy said one dry month didn’t necessarily have a big impact on water storages.

“A wet autumn or a wet June is good but we really want to see rainfall in spring because that’s where our inflows come from,” he said last week.

“If it continues then that is something for us to really look at in detail.”

Mr Healy said June’s rainfall shortage wouldn’t affect the opening water allocation, but it could have an impact the following year.

June’s tiny rainfall figures cap off a rather wet year for Coliban Water, with its annual inflow for 2016/2017 sitting at 100,293 megalitres.

The figure is more than 12 times higher than the previous year’s inflow of 8336 megalitres.

Mr Healy said it was the second highest annual inflow in a decade.

“Things are pretty good in storage,” he said.

Coliban service delivery and infrastructure general manager Neville Pearce said the announcement meant that Coliban Water’s 1374 rural customers would have access to their full licence volume when the season opened in the late spring.

“Our three major catchment storages, near Kyneton, are in a strong position - 78 per cent full with 54,455 megalites,” he said.

“The last time our inflows were more than 100,000 megalitres was in 2010/11, the year of the January 2011 floods.”

Mr Pearce said April was Coliban’s wettest month since January 2011 and the wettest April since records began in 1873.

“It is important to note that although last year was one of our highest for inflows into catchment storages, our inflow for the previous year was one of our lowest since the Millennium Drought,” he said.