LAST weekend’s rainfall has been welcomed across the region, helping to ease pressure on Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) irrigators after mostly dry winter conditions.
In the 24 hours to 9am on Monday, the Bureau of Meteorology reported widespread rainfall across north central and north east regions, with good inflows to a number of GMW storages.
Moama grain farmer Luke Barlow said although the lack of rain in recent months has been concerning the high rainfall in the last week has been well received.
“Considering the lack of water we have had I think the crops are looking good, the heavy rainfall of the last week has changed it from being nervous to comfortable so hopefully it continues,” he said.
Despite the promising rainfall figures in the last week he thinks the cycle is still behind its normal pattern for this time of the year.
“We would normally see canola flowers blossoming by now so I think we are about two weeks behind the normal cycle.”
GMW river operation planning manager Andrew Shields said the heavy rainfall of the last week in the Echuca area is great news for irrigators.
“There is quite a bit of water available for irrigators so that stockpile will ease the pressure toward the end of the drier months,” he said.
Water resources manager Mark Bailey said while it was too early to say what the rainfall will mean long term for farmers, it was a positive sign ahead of the new irrigation season which opens Tuesday August 15.
“Lake Eildon, Nillahcootie, Buffalo and William Hovell all saw inflows pick up considerably. Lake Eppalock and the Loddon storages did reasonably well,” he said.
In the Murray Valley area, customer service manager Brendan Brooks said totals between 20 and 30mm since Thursday had been well received.
“The rain has been very timely. The ground has been pretty dry up until now but the rain over the four or five days has been slow and steady ground-soaking rain,” he said.
Despite the dry conditions in recent months, GMW water storages were still looking healthy due to reserves established from last year.