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Water restrictions FAQ

Water restrictions FAQ

We answer some of your frequently asked questions about water restrictions

Summer 2018-19

Summer 2018-19

The Bureau of Meteorology outlook for summer 2018-19 indicates we are in for a long, dry period.

We closely monitor water usage and resource availability to forecast if north-east Victorian towns will see water restrictions this summer.

How do our water outlooks work?

We monitor water usage, storage levels and river flows which are then combined with river flow, rainfall and temperature outlooks from the Bureau of Meteorology. This allows us to forecast if towns and cities in our region need to be placed on water restrictions.

Conditions are continually monitored and the Water Outlooks are updated regularly. To view water outlooks for your town, click here.

What is the short term outlook?

Our storages are in a good position leading into summer, with most full or near-full.

We monitor our systems closely during the summer months and at this stage, there’s a possibility of moderate (or stage 2) water restrictions in some towns along the King River in late February or early March depending on rainfall.

Most of our supply systems have capacity to not be impacted by a one-off dry year. It is often the consecutive year which restrictions are more likely.

What is the long term outlook?

Much of our current modelling is focused beyond this summer and there is a possibility that water saving measures may need to be put in place next year if there’s an extended dry period.

We have made significant investments to improve our resilience in droughts and that means we’re in a good position heading into the future.

What is the difference between a regulated and unregulated system?

We supply treated water to 39 towns across the north-east region and source our water from multiple systems. There are two types of systems:

  • Regulated – these systems feature structures such as dams or weirs to store water and provide a controlled river flow which reduces the need for water restrictions to be implemented.
  • Unregulated  these systems do not have dams or weirs of sufficient size to control river flows which means that we cannot always extract enough water to meet customer demand. In this instance, we may ask customers to reduce water usage through water restrictions.

Do we need water restrictions now?

Some members of the community may have an expectation about bringing in restrictions now, however restrictions have the most benefit when they’re absolutely necessary.

There is a risk that people might get fatigued about the 'restrictions conversation' before those measures are really needed.

If restrictions are needed next year, we’re confident that our customers will continue to embrace their water conservation habits.

Water levels in Lake Hume are low - should I be concerned?

Lake Hume fluctuates in levels due to irrigation and downstream demand, so it can often be seen as low. At the moment the storage level is at 40%, but it is fed from several rivers as well as Dartmouth Dam which is currently at 71%.

How have our communities responded to dry conditions?

Our customers have embraced water conservation and are now using approximately two-thirds of what they did before the last drought.

This shows that communities have embedded water conservation as a habit, and this significantly reduces the need for water restrictions.

We hope that customers across the region continue to use water wisely in the summer months ahead and remember that Permanent Water Saving rules are in place. They are a set of common-sense rules to reduce demand and make sure we use water efficiently.

View Permanent Water Saving Rules View water saving tips

What can I do to save water now?

We would urge people – particularly in smaller storage towns like Beechworth and Benalla – to save as much water as possible this summer so there’s less likelihood of restrictions in 2019-20.

Permanent Water Saving Rules are also in place across Victoria. The rules include using a trigger nozzle on your hose to water the garden or wash the car, only using watering systems between 6pm and 10am, and not hosing concrete paths or driveways.

View all the Permanent Water Saving Rules View water saving tips

Where do I go for more information?

For more detailed information about an individual town in north-east Victoria, use the map below or take a look at our water outlooks for summer 2018-19 here. You can also contact our Water Quality team on 1300 361 622.

Understanding water security for your town

The diverse region of north-east Victoria is served by an equally diverse range of urban water supplies, all with their  individual resiliences to drought. Please find more detailed information about your town below. This information is updated regularly.

Find your town Understand the supply system Monitor the supply
Wodonga, Baranduda, Barnawartha, Bonegilla, Chiltern, Ebden, Kiewa, Springhurst, Tangambalanga
Murray River system
  • Wodonga's source water is extracted from Wodonga Creek and is then supplied by pipeline to Baranduda, Barnawartha, Bonegilla, Chiltern, Ebden, Kiewa, Springhurst, and Tangambalanga.
  • The Murray River system is supplied by the major storages of Hume and Dartmouth.
  • The combined volume of these two storages when full is 6,861 gigalitres.
  • The storages are fed by the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers.
  • Customers on the Murray system use 8 gigalitres in a normal year.
  • The biggest users on the system are irrigation and environmental water.
Murray River system
  • The amount of water available to our customers is determined by an annual allocation by the Northern Victoria Resource manager.
  • The level of Lake Hume is often incorrectly interpreted as a measure of water availability. The annual allocation is determined by the amount of water stored in Lake Hume and Dartmouth, as well as the river flow into the storages.
  • The annual allocation on the Murray is 100%.
  • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
Benalla
Benalla system
  • Benalla's water security is determined by the volume stored in the  Loombah and McCall Say reservoirs
  • The reservoirs are fed from Ryans and Whiskey creeks.
  • The town typically uses 1,400 megalitres of water in a year.
Benalla system
  • Loombah and McCall Say reservoirs are at 100% of their 1,747 megalitre capacity.
  • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
Beechworth
Beechworth system
  • Beechworth's water security is determined by the volume stored in Lake Kerferd, which was constructed during the Gold Rush era.
  • Lake Kerferd is fed by the unregulated Nine Mile and Frenchmans creeks.
  • The town typically uses 490 megalitres of water in a year.
Beechworth system
  • Lake Kerferd is at 100% of its 810 megalitre capacity and is holding 810 megalitres of water.
  • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
Bellbridge, Tallangatta
Murray River system
  • Bellbridge and Tallangatta's source water is extracted from Lake Hume.
  • The Murray River system is supplied by the major storages of Hume and Dartmouth.The combined volume of these two storages when full is 6,861 gigalitres.
  • The storages are fed by the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers.
  • Customers on the Murray system use 8 gigalitres in a normal year.
  • The biggest users on the system are irrigation and environmental water.
Murray River system
  • The amount of water available to our customers is determined by an annual allocation by the Northern Victoria Resource manager.
  • The level of Lake Hume is often incorrectly interpreted as a measure of water availability. The annual allocation is determined by the amount of water stored in Lake Hume and Dartmouth, as well as the river flow into the storages.
  • The annual allocation on the Murray is 100%.
  • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
  • Bright, Porepunkah, Wandiligong
    Bright system
    • Bright, Porepunkah and Wandiligong's water security is determined by the flows in the Ovens River and the off-river storage in Freeburgh.
    • The communities use 590 megalitres of water each year on average.
    Bright system
    • The Bright off-river storage is at 100% of its 536 megalitre capacity.
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Corryong, Cudgewa
    Corryong system
    • Corryong and Cudgewa's water security is determined by the flow volumes in Nariel Creek which can limit water extractions to the off-river storage (Hamilton Hill reservoir) during the warmer months.
    • Customers use 230 megalitres of water in a typical year.
    Corryong system
    • Hamilton Hill reservoir is at 92% of its 90 megalitre capacity and is holding 83 megalitres of water
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Dartmouth, Eskdale
    Murray River system
    • Dartmouth and Eskdale's source water is extracted from Mitta Mitta River.
    • The Murray River system is supplied by the major storages of Hume and Dartmouth.The combined volume of these two storages when full is 6,861 gigalitres.
    • The storages are fed by the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers.
    • Customers on the Murray system use 8 gigalitres in a normal year.
    • The biggest users on the system are irrigation and environmental water.
    Murray River system
  • The amount of water available to our customers is determined by an annual allocation by the Northern Victoria Resource manager.
  • The level of Lake Hume is often incorrectly interpreted as a measure of water availability. The annual allocation is determined by the amount of water stored in Lake Hume and Dartmouth, as well as the river flow into the storages.
  • The annual allocation on the Murray is 100%.
  • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
  • Harrietville
    Harrietville system
    • Harrietville's water security is determined by the flow volumes in the unregulated Ovens River.
    • The town uses an average of 50 megalitres every year.
    Harrietville system
    • Flow volumes in the Ovens River at Harrietville are below average for this time of year with streamflow at 86 megalitres per day.
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Mt Beauty, Tawonga, Tawonga South
    Mt Beauty system
    • A high level of water security is afforded by water releases for hydro-electricity generation upstream of Mt Beauty.
    • On average, customers in Mt Beauty, Tawonga and Tawonga South use 370 megalitres of water in a year.
    Mt Beauty system
    • Flow volumes in the Kiewa River at Mt Beauty are trending around average for this time of year.
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Myrtleford
    Myrtleford system
    • Myrtleford's water security is determined by flow conditions in the unregulated Buffalo Creek which can limit water extraction to the off-river storage during the warmer months.
    • The average annual water use for customers is 560 megalitres.
    Myrtleford system
    • Nil Gully Reservoir is at 96% of its 400 megalitre capacity.
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Oxley, Moyhu, Whitfield
    King River sytem
    • Oxley, Moyhu and Whitfield's water security is determined by the volume stored in Lake William Hovell which provides releases to the King River.
    • The storage can be drawn down quickly to meet downstream irrigation and environmental demands during the warmer months.
    • On average customers use 130 megalitres of water in a year.
    King River system
    • Lake William Hovel is 100% of its 13,690 megalitre capacity.
    • Based on forecast conditions, there’s a possibility of moderate (or stage 2) water restrictions in some towns along the King River in late February or early March depending on rainfall.
    Wahgunyah, Rutherglen
    Murray River system
    • Wahgunyah and Rutherglen's source water is extracted from the Murray River at Wahgunyah.
    • The Murray River system is supplied by the major storages of Hume and Dartmouth.The combined volume of these two storages when full is 6,861 gigalitres.
    • The storages are fed by the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers.
    • Customers on the Murray system use 8 gigalitres in a normal year.
    • The biggest users on the system are irrigation and environmental water.
    Murray River system
  • The amount of water available to our customers is determined by an annual allocation by the Northern Victoria Resource manager.
  • The level of Lake Hume is often incorrectly interpreted as a measure of water availability. The annual allocation is determined by the amount of water stored in Lake Hume and Dartmouth, as well as the river flow into the storages.
  • The annual allocation on the Murray is 100%.
  • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
  • Walwa
    Walwa system
    • A high level of water security is afforded by water releases for hydro-electricity generation upstream of Walwa.
    • The average annual water use for Walwa customers is 15 megalitres.
    Walwa system
    • Flow volumes in the Murray River at Walwa are trending below average for this time of year with streamflow at 2,089 megalitres per day.
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Wangaratta, Glenrowan
    Wangaratta system
    • Wangaratta and Glenrowan's water security is determined by the volume stored in lakes Buffalo and William Hovell which provide releases to the Ovens and King rivers respectively.
    • These storages can be drawn down quickly to meet downstream irrigation and environmental demand during the warmer months.
    • Groundwater is also available as a contingency supply.
    • The average annual demand for Wangaratta and Glenrowan customers is 3,200 megalitres.
    Wangaratta system
    • Lakes Buffalo and William Hovel are at 100% of combined capacity of 37,000 megalitres.
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Yackandandah
    Yackandandah system
    • Yackandandah's water security is determined by flow conditions in the unregulated Nine Mile Creek which can limit water extractions to the off-river storages during the warmer months.
    • In an average year customers in Yackandandah use 110 megalitres of water.
    Yackandandah system
    • Walker’s Saddle and Evanswood reservoirs are at full supply level of 24 megalitres.
    • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
    Yarrawonga, Bundalong, Devenish, St James, Tungamah, Goorambat – extraction from Lake Mulwala
    Murray River system
    • Yarrawonga, Bundalong, Devenish, St James, Tungamah and Goorambat's source water is extracted from Lake Mulwala.
    • The Murray River system is supplied by the major storages of Hume and Dartmouth.The combined volume of these two storages when full is 6,861 gigalitres.
    • The storages are fed by the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers.
    • Customers on the Murray system use 8 gigalitres in a normal year.
    • The biggest users on the system are irrigation and environmental water.
    Murray River system
  • The amount of water available to our customers is determined by an annual allocation by the Northern Victoria Resource manager.
  • The level of Lake Hume is often incorrectly interpreted as a measure of water availability. The annual allocation is determined by the amount of water stored in Lake Hume and Dartmouth, as well as the river flow into the storages.
  • The annual allocation on the Murray is 100%.
  • Based on forecast conditions, we are currently not forecasting restrictions.
  • View our latest Water Outlooks here

    Water Outlooks