Water allocations in the Murray Valley increased by only three per cent on Friday.ZOE MCMAUGH August 5, 2014 3:53am
Farmers will need to ‘‘take a gamble’’ on summer watering programs with water allocations in the Murray Valley increasing by only three per cent on Friday.
Southern Riverina Irrigators chair John Bradford said the increase to 12 per cent of general security allocations was less than was hoped.
With challenging water storage and weather conditions ahead, Mr Bradford said there were some uncertainties for farmers.
He said there were also some positives for the year ahead, which he said points to a ‘‘normal’’ irrigation year.
‘‘With all the water in the dams (Dartmouth and Hume) I thought we would have more (of an allocation),’’ Mr Bradford said.
‘‘It’s going up and it’s only a start, but I would have hoped for a minimum of 15 per cent.
‘‘It’s hard to organise a summer program with this announcement, so there’ll be a lot of gambling going on.
‘‘There are some positives in that there is a lot of snow in the hills and the system is all very wet, which still needs to be taken into account.
‘‘With that snow and a couple of good rainfalls, we could be okay.’’
NSW Office of Water forward projections for October 2014 show the maximum likely allocation will be 56 per cent of entitlement. It predicts a 50 per cent chance of that occurring.
NOW predicts a 90 per cent chance of very dry conditions, which would lead to another modest increase to only 19 per cent by October 1.
It predicts a 75 per cent chance the allocation will be increased to 38 per cent of entitlement by October 1.
‘‘We did have below average rainfall in July across the region, but when you look back even a few years ago we can see that it’s not as bad as the drought years,’’ Mr Bradford said.
‘‘One ongoing concern is Menindee (Lake) being so low – the two high dams (Hume and Dartmouth) are near full but Menindee is low.’’
Low levels at Menindee mean restrictions for trading out of the Murrumbidgee remain closed, with trade to and from the Lower Darling now also closed.
Mr Bradford said farmers also need to be mindful of continuing frosts damaging crops.
‘‘We have been lucky that the weather has been mild and good for growing, but there are some concerns about early flowering canola.
‘‘We have had a few frosts and we will get a few more before winter is over.
‘‘There has been some frost damage to those early crops, but we don’t yet know the full extent.
‘‘What we don’t want is big frosts and dry winds.’’
Great time had at this year's Barmah Muster.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The second annual Bonnie and Clyde Rods, Rats and Rides Festival fired up at Tatura Park at the weekend (April 11-12), drawing thousands of petrol heads and rockabilly music lovers to Tatura.
Friday’s annual primary inter-school cross country meet will see a broader variety of students taking part, as well as the introduction of a new finish line.
Lockington Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Rally is on for the 18th time this weekend and there is something for everyone.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
Deniliquin bowler Dennis O'Keefe lost 25-19 in his bid for a quarter-final spot in the Victorian Singles Championships this week.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
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