Valley to avoid summer water cuts

The Latrobe Valley is unlikely to face water restrictions this summer with the area’s main water storage Moondarra currently at 100 per cent capacity.

Gippsland Water yesterday released its annual Water Security Outlook, describing the Valley’s water supply as being in an “excellent position” before summer.

According to the report, the Latrobe water supply system is significantly higher than during the years of drought the region experienced last decade.

Gippsland Water general manager of communications Paul Clark said while Australia’s summer was difficult to predict, the Valley was expected to get through the period without the need for cuts.

“We are in a very, very good position… at this stage we’re not envisaging the need for water restrictions,” Mr Clark said.

Although Gippsland has recorded below average rainfall this year and had a dry spring, the Valley’s high supply of water is due largely to excellent rainfall in the Mount Baw Baw catchment area during July and August.

The region is now predicted to have an almost equal chance of either a hotter or cooler summer than average, and only a slightly greater chance of being drier than normal.

However, the forecast is not so good for much of the state.

According to the State Government, Victoria’s water security outlooks show 23 urban supply systems across the state, including several in Gippsland, face restrictions if dry spring conditions continue over summer.

While Mirboo North and Erica/Rawson were among towns mentioned by the government in a list of systems possibly facing restrictions, Gippsland Water’s outlook says cuts are unlikely.

“In exceptionally dry years there are some towns that can be more susceptible to water restrictions than others, although we are very, very confident of getting through without water restrictions,” Mr Clark said.

Thorpdale, which receives its water by carting from other systems, may get restrictions to manage possible high demand.

Mr Clark said Gippsland Water had contingencies available to continue to supply those towns if needed.

Outlooks for water supply systems across Victoria show while most will avoid restrictions, about a quarter may require them if demands are high and dry conditions do not improve.

“These outlooks show that under continuing dry conditions a number of towns may face low level water restrictions over coming months and we are currently developing a statewide drought preparedness statement which will include these areas,” Water Minister Lisa Neville said.

“Continuing dry conditions are placing significant stress on local communities and we are working hard on improving water access and increasing security of supply in the future.”

Other Gippsland towns possibly facing restrictions according to the government include Briagolong, Seaspray, Warragul, Drouin, Neerim South, Fish Creek, Korumburra, Poowong, Loch, Nyora, Toora, Welshpool, Port Welshpool, Devon North, Yarram, Alberton and Port Albert.