Water Outlook

We collaborate with the retail water companies to produce the Water Outlook; a summary of the state of Melbourne's water supply and demand which is published by 1 December each year.

This includes information on water availability, water storages, water use and short- to medium-term management of Melbourne's water resources.

The performance of Melbourne’s water supply is evaluated according to storage levels on 30 November each year relative to three zones:

  • High Zone – optimising supplies to secure our water supply
  • Medium Zone – take action to reduce demand and improve supply
  • Low Zone – emergency actions required to maintain our water supply

Water Outlook at December 2017

The most recent Water Outlook assessed that Melbourne’s water storages are in the High (Secure) Zone.

This means the existing water supply system, which includes the Victorian Desalination Plant, has enough water for coming years without storages entering the Low (Emergency) Zone under a range of modelled climate and demand scenarios. 

Permanent Water Use Rules are in place and the Target 155 voluntary water efficiency program has been launched to encourage Melburnians to continue to use water efficiently.

Find more information:

Bureau of Meteorology climate and water information

The Bureau of Meteorology provides a number of seasonal outlooks which can be used to support our water resources planning. These are regularly updated and typically cover a three-month period.

Climate outlooks

Climate outlooks show the likelihood of the next three months being wetter or drier and warmer or cooler than usual.

Seasonal streamflow forecast

The Seasonal streamflow forecast  for the next three months at sites across Australia – including five sites in eastern Victoria that flow into Melbourne’s major harvesting reservoirs:

  • Thomson Reservoir – total inflow
  • Upper Yarra Reservoir – total inflow
  • O’Shannassy Reservoir – total inflow
  • Maroondah Reservoir – inflow from Watts River
  • Maroondah Reservoir – inflow from Graceburn Creek

ENSO update

The ENSO update provides the current state of the Pacific and Indian oceans, and assess the likely evolution of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as it transitions through the different phases of El Niño, La Niña and Neutral.

Australian landscape water balance

The Australian landscape water balance presents current and historical information on soil moisture, rainfall, runoff and evapotranspiration for Australia, including the Melbourne region.

Climate outlooks by other agencies

Data from other sources provide alternative climate outlooks on potential rainfall and temperature for Australia including the Melbourne region. 

Source Outlooks available
APEC Climate Center (APCC) - Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Rainfall and temperature (6month)
JAMSTEC - Japan agency for marine earth science and technology  Rainfall and temperature (9 month)
The Met Office - UK's national meteorological service  Rainfall and temperature (5 month)
ECMWF and EUROSIP - European centre for medium range weather forecasts Rainfall and temperature (6 month)
Climate Prediction Center, National Weather Service - NOAA  Rainfall and temperature (6 month)
International Research Institute for climate and society - Columbia University (USA) Rainfall and temperature (6 month)
Last updated:
5 December 2017