“THE situation is serious”.
Many growers have resigned themselves to the fact it will be a season of low allocations and it’s just part of what they need to deal with in their lives as farmers.
However, the impacts of less water will have widespread impacts, not just on the farmers themselves.
This week’s allocation announcement saw no change for Murrumbidgee general security holders, who remain on seven per cent of entitlement.
The Murrumbidgee system has experienced extremely dry conditions in the last six months, among the lowest five percent on record, with rain desperately needed in the catchment to help irrigators.
Leeton shire grower Peter Draper said the impacts of low allocations were already being felt.
Mr Draper typically grows three large paddocks of rice each season and about the same of rice.
However, due to the low allocations and the forecast for rain not looking good, he has had to cut back.
“I’ve just got the one paddock of cotton at the moment … I haven’t planted any rice,” Mr Draper said.
“Usually I would have around 200 hectares of rice, so it’s very different.
“It’s going to be a hard season for a lot of people and it will impact other areas.
“The town will start to see the impacts.”
September rainfall was below average across the majority of Australia, and especially so across the southern mainland.
It was the driest September on record nationally, and the second driest September on record for Victoria, third driest for Western Australia, and fourth driest for South Australia.
Water allocation can currently be traded within and out of the Murrumbidgee Valley, but trade into the Murrumbidgee Valley is closed.
The Bureau of Meteorology seasonal outlook for October to December indicates conditions over the Murrumbidgee catchment are likely to be dry, particularly this month, with above average temperatures.
Mr Draper said many growers were selling the water they had. “We need rain to be falling over the catchments, but the outlook isn’t that great,” he said.
Burrinjuck Dam is currently sitting at 41.8% of capacity, while Blowering Dam is hovering at 65.3 per cent. The next allocation announcement will be on October 15.
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