26 September 2023

Small dams not holding water

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Agriculture Victoria has warned the State’s farmers that small farm dams were becoming increasingly unable to meet stock and domestic water demands.

Water supply specialist at Agriculture Victoria, Clem Sturmfels said dams had become less reliable over recent years due to a hotter and drier climate, more severe droughts and increasing areas of the state sown to crops or improved pastures.

“A small reduction in rainfall or change in land use can significantly reduce the amount of runoff available for farm dams,” Mr Sturmfels said.

“Farmers need to consider all available options before spending money sinking a bore, building a larger dam or installing a reticulated water supply system,” he said.

“They should start with a thorough stocktake of their existing system and calculate the water needs of their grazing enterprise, while also taking into account the strategies they will implement during the next dry season or drought.”

Mr Sturmfels said small dams often went dry over summer due to their limited storage capacity and very high evaporation losses.

“Large dams, on the other hand, are becoming less popular due to the lack of suitable sites, planning permit requirements and the impact these dams have on downstream flows,” he said.

Information on managing dams can be accessed on the Department’s website at this PS News link.

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