As water supply in the lower Murray comes under increasing pressure from new water demand trends, carryover and inter-valley trade from other parts of the southern-connected Murray-Darling Basin will become increasingly important tools for all irrigators to manage their water needs.
In 2018-19, water demand from existing permanent horticulture in the lower Murray was approximately 1,122 GL*. In the absence of any demand-side response, water demand could increase by 125 GL once existing permanent plantings reach full maturity.
If this happens, in a year with similar within-region water supply conditions to 2018-19 (approximately 1,285 GL), there may only be a small volume of water in addition to the permanent horticulture demand. This highlights the importance of carryover of water from one season to the next and inter-valley trade in managing risk, particularly for irrigators in the lower Murray.
Water supply scenarios and permanent horticulture water demand, lower Murray region
Note: the demand estimate includes demand from vegetable growing in the Victorian and NSW Sunraysia.