THE region’s irrigators may have water restrictions forced on them over the coming week.
With the forecast for continued hot weather leading up until Christmas, Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) is alerting farmers that irrigation demand will be tight.
If the supply situation deteriorates water orders will be restricted to a share of the flow rate based on delivery entitlements held.
MI is working closely with Water NSW, and Coleambally Irrigation, to manage the situation, but at this stage restrictions are likely.
MI chief executive officer Brett Jones said the organisation was doing everything it could to minimise impacts on growers.
“We are running the system as best we can but looks like there will be restrictions to manage the peak demand,” he said.
“There is little margin for error with seven-day lag time from major storages.”
MI reminded all irrigators’ that taking water without an approved water order places them in breach of their water delivery contract.
All water orders must be lodged two days in advance.
“One of our biggest risks is people taking water without ordering it,” Mr Jones said.
“When the system is operating at capacity a lot of effort goes into planning the delivery of water throughout the entire system.
“When water is taken from an area of the system without us knowing it threatens our ability to deliver to all other irrigators.”
Mr Jones said compliance teams have been, and will continue to be, working throughout this period, including overnight.
“Our teams will work in shifts to try and further limit the impact of the water shortage on irrigators’,” he said.
“Narrandera Shire Council have also helped to reduce the impact of the supply shortage on irrigators by allowing us to access water from Lake Talbot.”
It comes as just three weeks ago, MI was having to monitor flood flows after around 60 millimetres of rain fell across the region in one day. That wet weather was then in stark contrast to the recent heatwave experienced throughout the MIA.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.