This report is the 16th in the annual series and summarises Victoria’s water availability, distribution and use for the 2018-19 year. In a time of more extreme weather events and extended periods of water scarcity, regular and comprehensive public water reporting has never been more important. Victoria continues to lead the way in such reporting.

For the first year – the VWA team will now have two digital reporting offerings. The ‘Highlights’ explain Victorian’s Water Entitlement and Management Frameworks and shows how water trends are changing over time. Our soon to be released VWA Online will move the VWA into the digital space – it will provide detailed information at a catchment scale about the availability and use of water in Victoria each year.

We have enhanced and updated the Highlights ( released last year with 2018-19 data. This digital resource complements the written and online report, providing a contemporary way to engage with water data and learn more about how water resources are managed in Victoria.

A soon-to-be-released new online platform will cover the surface water and distribution systems chapters of the Victorian Water Accounts. People will be able to use the website to find out where water is sourced through to where it is used by customers.

Victorian Water Accounts 2018–19 at a glance

  • This report provides statewide and system pictures of water availability and use for each of Victoria’s 29 river basins and 20 groundwater catchments.
  • Conditions in 2018–19 were even drier than in the previous year, with below-average rainfall across most of Victoria throughout the year. It was Victoria’s driest July since 2002 and the second-driest September and ninth-driest spring on record. It was also Victoria's warmest summer and eighth-warmest autumn on record.
  • At the end of June 2019, a severe, multi-year drought was affecting large parts of eastern Australia.
  • The total available volume of surface water, groundwater and recycled water was lower than in the previous year.
  • The drier, warmer conditions in 2018–19 (following on from a dry 2017–18) meant there were more restrictions in 2018–19 than in the previous year. Water use was restricted for the urban users, with six towns affected. More streams were restricted in 2018–19, with a peak of 162 streams restricted in March 2019 compared to 130 in March 2018.
  • In July 2018, opening allocations were low for all entitlements in regulated systems. By February, almost all high-reliability entitlements received 100% allocation in regulated systems except the Loddon, Goulburn and Broken systems in the north and the Werribee and Bacchus Marsh district in the south: three less than the previous year.
  • Storages once again ended the year lower than they began, and only 15 of Victoria’s regional storages reached at least 90% of capacity by September 2018 (compared to 28 the previous year). Four of those reached full capacity and were spilling.
  • Groundwater levels trends in 2018–19 were declining at a greater rate than in 2017–18.
  • Surface water use decreased slightly, compared to 2017–18.
  • Groundwater use decreased, compared to 2017–18.
  • Recycled water use increased in 2018–19, compared to 2017–18.
  • This year was the VEWH’s eighth year managing water for the environment in Victoria. In 2018–19, 92% of identified required watering actions were fully or partially achieved through a combination of managed environmental flows, natural flows, unregulated passing flows and delivery of consumptive water en route.

 Reports for previous years are available here..