How much water is available?
On farm water supplies
Water is a finite but variable resource on a farm. It comes to a farm (rain, stream flow, ground water extraction), wanders through and then leaves. The hydrology cycle describes the inputs, outputs, storages (living organisms, surface litter, soil, streams, dams and tanks), distribution and movement of water between storages, extraction of water from storages - and subsequent use.
Groundwater is a component of property hydrology and it can be a major asset if it is available to extract. Supplies are never limitless and will often vary in both quantity and quality, and with time. Groundwater testing is essential before development. Licenses are needed both to construct a bore (bore construction licence) and operate a bore (groundwater extraction licence).
The department is responsible for monitoring and caring for groundwater in Victoria. Groundwater Information Notes (PDF 338 KB)
Groundwater monitoring - how and why?
Southern Rural Water has produced a series of groundwater maps for southern Victoria. There are links to maps about groundwater resources; including yield and quality.
Water capture and storage
Water has to be captured (and stored) on any farm to supply domestic and stock requirements.
Access to permanent streams and reliable ground water reduces the substantiveness of collection, but do not displace the need for either collection or storage.
Capture of water from both land catchments and building roofs is usually and essential part of farm planning and management. Roofs offer easy collection of high quality water.
If stream water is available it is best as a source of water for collection, not for use as a drinking point.
Water supply options for rural lifestyle properties compares a range of capture and storage options.
The online farm water calculator can be used to estimate quantities that can be captured and stored in tanks and dams.
The following provides information on dam storage, construction, finding a dam site and management.
- A Gully Dam or a Hillside Dam
- Drought Reserve Dams
- Farm Dam Management
- Finding a Dam Site
- How to Avoid Dam Construction Failures
- How to Maintain Your Farm Dam
- How Much Water is in My Dam?
- How Long Will My Dam Water Last?
- Soil Materials for Farm Dam Construction
- Trickle Flow Pipes for Farm Dams
- Your Dam Your Responsibility (PDF - 1.2 MB)
Farm water planning
Farm water planning encompasses:
- water audit to determine volume required (monthly and or annual budget)
- sources of water (amount available and quantity)
- storage period and reliability of filling
- consequences of "running out" and type of usage (eg high value crop, stock)
- contingency plan in event of failure
- risk profile (of landholder)
- impact of climate change on the water requirement (budget) and yield and reliability of water resources
The Online Farm Water Calculator can be used to carry out a farm water balance.
For more information read FarmPlan 21.