Goulburn-Murray Water is entering the new year on a high note, with water storages averaging a healthy 80 per cent and Victoria’s highest capacity dam — Dartmouth — just under 90 per cent full.
‘‘These figures bode very well for water security over summer and, indeed, throughout 2018,’’ G-MW managing director Pat Lennon said.
‘‘You only have to go back a short time when G-MW and its customers would start off the calendar year with some trepidation on how water availability would hold up during the warmer months, when demand typically reaches its peak.
‘‘For example, in 2015 our storages were less than half full at 47 per cent, which placed added pressure on our operating region, which covers about a third of Victoria and manages 70 per cent of its stored water.
‘‘Of course, we’re mindful that the most recent top-up of our storages came at a cost for many, with record rainfall in the opening days of December causing damage across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District and in the north-east.
‘‘However, the water harvesting we were able to take advantage of on behalf of our customers during this period was the true silver lining from these storm clouds.’’
Mr Lennon said he was pleased to report G-MW would enter the new year with good news on other fronts, in particular its firm plan for the future.
‘‘For more than a year we’ve worked with our customers, stakeholders and communities on our strategic plan, which provides clarity on how G-MW not only remains sustainable over the next five, 10 and 25 years, but more than meets the expectations of all,’’ he said.
‘‘In the short term, this means efficiently delivering on the Connections project and its $2billion investment in irrigation modernisation.
‘‘In the longer term, it means maintaining and building on our $5billion in assets, continually improving our service and storing, managing and delivering water at a fair and equitable price.’’
Mr Lennon said the future challenges of water availability, climate change and the unknowns of an increasingly global market for many customers made partnering with the communities of northern Victoria and actively contributing to regional development more important than ever.
‘‘Our strategic plan reflects these goals and challenges.
‘‘We know G-MW must become more agile and more efficient in our changing environment and we are already implementing initiatives in order to meet these goals.
‘‘For example, as an organisation we are now three-quarters of the way toward a commitment to reach $20million in savings by 2020.
‘‘Much of this has been achieved over 2017 while maintaining and, in many cases, improving our services to customers.’’