PEOPLE have begun cancelling Lake Eppalock Christmas plans as spring rain fails to break the dry.
Water levels are at 35.26 per cent, the lowest recorded during October since the millennium drought, Goulburn Murray Water data shows.
The Lake Eppalock Holiday Park is losing bookings as the water drops lower, owner Lisa Rose said.
"Our season really kicks off with with the Bendigo Cup weekend and that's still looking good. But we are starting to receive cancellations over the Christmas period," she said.
"I suppose it's just that time of year when we usually get those spring rains. That's not looking likely, according to the long-range forecasts."
A Bureau of Meteorology climate outlook last week predicted central Victoria's rainfall would remain below average for the rest of October and November.
Water levels, 2009 to 2013. Story continues below graph
Normal rainfall could return over January and February, but that will not necessarily ease any shortages.
"Several months of above average rainfall would be needed to see a recovery from current conditions," the bureau noted.
The lake's irrigation water will only rise if several days of rain saturates the catchment first, Goulburn Murray Water river operations manager Andrew Shields said.
"It's hard to tell how much it will go down by. That depends on demand and the orders we receive from those with a right to receive it," he said.
"The expectation is for a gradual decline over the next few months."
Water levels, 2014 to 2018. Story continues below graph
That decline could be similar to what was seen the last time water dropped below 30 per cent, over the 2015/16 summer.
That dry spell also came after successive dry years and saw water levels drop to 22 per cent by May 2016, Mr Shields said.
Ms Rose is not as worried by that prospect as she would have been in previous dry spells. Her business has invested in a heated pool and other infrastructure to help when lake levels drop during a three or four year cycle.
"We have more plans coming. And there are lots of areas that kids can ride their bikes around. So we have things in place for families who want to keep their bookings," Ms Rose said.
It is still too early to tell whether the dry will break next year, Mr Shields said.
"We often get those large lake inflows in late winter and spring."
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