Water Outlook Report for 2018/2019

29 January 2019

Below is a review of our Water Outlook Report for 2018/2019. For a more comprehensive look please read our complete report here.

White Swan

Reflecting on the year that was Central Highlands Water (CHW) Managing Direct Paul O’Donohue, has reiterated that as an organisation our number one priority is having a secure water supply. To ensure this priority is maintained, CHW actively reviews all water supplies regularly. With factors such as long-term climate change, population growth and seasonal growth always taken into consideration when supplies are reviewed.

Currently all our water supplies are in a good position, with no water restrictions expected across the 15 separate water supplies over the coming 12-month period. This is based upon the current levels and forecast climate conditions (based on the Bureau of Meteorology predictions). However, conditions are expected to be slightly drier than last year, so we continue to encourage all customers to use water wisely. Being sure to implement the permanent water saving rules we have outlined.

2017/2018 Summary:

We experienced a relatively mild summer with a few extreme heat days. The winter and spring rainfall was low, resulting in some systems trading to the low side of the percentile performance projections. For all ground water systems, the impact of rainfall is more buffered than that for the surface systems. However, current monitoring in CHW bores indicates that groundwater levels are in the normal range and no impacts on urban water supplies are anticipated. The demand for water increased some 8% compared to the 2016/2017 period.

Forward Outlook (2018/2019):

There are two types of outlooks we focus on, Surface and Groundwater. Surface supplies systems are measured on the likelihood of possible conditions occurring. These conditions are based on statistical analysis of recorded inflows to the system. For groundwater supplied systems the recorded groundwater levels over the recent past provide a good indication of how levels may track and whether any resource issues are expected.

Other factors besides climate and weather can impact water supplies. These include bushfires, capital and operational improvement projects, loss of power, water quality events and major asset failure.

As the issue of bushfires can be weather dependent, we monitor conditions throughout the season in accordance with our Bushfire Preparedness Plan.

Overview of System Status:

The 6-month outlook is that reservoir levels are low. It is expected that levels will draw down below restriction triggers, but operation of the groundwater bore, together with water carting as required, will avoid the need to implement formal water restrictions.

As for the 12-month outlook, in the unlikely event of little to no rainfall in the winter/spring of 2019, the reservoir will not recover sufficiently, and ongoing groundwater use and water carting will be required. However, the probability of this is low (<10%).

In addition, we are continually striving to care for our community and the environment. Below are some initiatives we have implemented to support our water needs:

  • Carbon Emissions Pledge- Reducing our emissions by 20% before 2025 to help deliver on the objectives in Water for Victoria and the Victorian Government’s emissions reduction target of zero net emissions by the year 2050.
  • Climate Adaption Plan- Implementing actions to ensure that our activities are focussed on the key issues so that our customers and community continue to receive reliable services in an increasingly challenging future.
  • Recycled Water- Recycling water to Lake Wendouree, Ballarat school grounds and irrigation supporting agriculture.
  • Digital Metering- Digital metering forms part of our technology innovations for water efficiency initiatives which will provide customers with greater access to water use information and alerts to leaks or high-water use, commencing 2019.


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