How much water was available?

Are our storages full? Do we still have water restrictions? How much rainfall did we have? Were streamflows received above or below average?

Let's find out more Scoll down to find out more


Overall, rainfall for 2020–21 was below average across most of the west and north-west and above-average in the south.

September 2020 was Victoria's sixth-warmest on record, and November 2020 was Victoria's second-warmest on record, both contributing to the state's third-warmest spring on record. State-wide, in 2021, it was the wettest January since 2011, the wettest March since 2012 and the wettest June since 2014. Learn more
Keys/Rainfall Key Created with Sketch. Very much below average Lowest on record Below average Average Above average Very much above average Highest on record RAINFALL KEY

Very-much-below-average rainfall was received in the north-west: on the South Australia border near Murrayville; and from Swan Hill to Hopetoun.

Above-average rainfall was received in most of the east and parts of the central west, Grampians, Hopkins/Corangamite areas and south-west coast. Rainfall was very-much-above-average in the Otways, near Lake Bolac, Yarram, Mount Baw Baw and the far east.

Winter 2020 was drier than average in most of the state. It was wetter than average over Baw Baw National Park and in east Gippsland.

Days were warmer than average in most of the eastern and southern Victoria, and close to average elsewhere. Nights were cooler than average in most of western Victoria, warmer than average in east Gippsland and close to average everywhere else.

Spring 2020 rainfall was close to average across most of Victoria. It was drier than average in some areas scattered across the east, and wetter than average in parts of the West Central and West Coast districts.

Days were much warmer than average in most of eastern and northern Victoria, and along the west coast. Nights were much warmer than average across the state, and highest on record in eastern and central Victoria.

Rainfall during summer 2020–21 was average to above-average for most of the state. Rainfall was above average in parts of central-west, south-west and north-east Victoria. Rainfall was below average in parts of the north-west.

Days were cooler than average in parts of south-central and eastern Victoria. Nights were close to average across most of the state away from the north-west.

Autumn 2021 rainfall was below to very much below average across much of western Victoria, particularly the north-west. It was also drier than average in most of the north-east, but wetter than average in Gippsland.

Daytime temperatures were close to average across Victoria. Nights were cooler than average across much of the state's north, warmer than average along parts of the coast and close to average elsewhere.

On 28 September 2020, the Bureau of Meteorology's El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Outlook moved to LA NIÑA, indicating La Niña had been established in the tropical Pacific.

This continued until 30 March 2021, when most ENSO indicators returned to neutral levels.

The Bureau's ENSO outlook was reset to INACTIVE by the end of March. Neutral ENSO levels continued for the rest of 2020-21.

La Niña events typically bring above average spring rainfall in northern, central, and eastern Australia.

Graph of the total water available

The total volume of surface water, groundwater, recycled water and desalinated water available in 2020–21 was 23,942 GL, 6,355 GL higher than the 17,587 GL available in 2019–20.


Compared to last year, there was more rainfall in 2020–21 across most of the state, which meant most streams received more rainfall.

In 2020–21, 11 basins had above-average streamflows, compared to the previous year when 7 basins had above-average streamflows. The total annual streamflow volume for Victoria was 22,305 GL, 99% of the long-term average. This is more than the volume in 2019–20, which was 15,958 GL, 70% of the long-term average.

Post 1975 Long term average 22,641 GL
2010-11 45,714 GL
2011-12 35,502 GL
2012-13 21,185 GL
2013-14 19,850 GL
2014-15 15,823 GL
2015-16 12,963 GL
2016-17 30,907 GL
2017-18 13,969 GL
2018-19 10,705 GL
2019-20 15,958 GL
2020-21 22,305 GL

Total Victorian streamflow compared to the long term average

Water Storage

For the second year in a row, total Victorian storage levels at the end of the water year were higher than what they were at the start. At 1 July 2020, total storage levels were at 50% of total capacity, and were 61% full by 30 June 2021. Storage levels reached a peak of 65% in October 2020, exceeding the previous year’s peak level of 53%.

Regional storages were 47% full at the beginning of 2020–21, reaching a peak of 64% of capacity in October (compared to 51% in September the previous year).

Regional levels declined through the summer to a minimum of 47% of capacity by April 2021 and were 59% full on 30 June 2021.

In 2020–21, Melbourne’s storages started the year 64% full compared to 50% the previous year. After reaching a peak of 75% full in November 2020, storages dropped to a minimum of 71% in May 2021.

Melbourne's storages were 75% full on 30 June 2021. This is the second water year since 2016–17 when Melbourne’s storage levels were higher at the end of the year than they were at the start.

The total volume of desalinated water delivered for the year to 30 June 2021 was 125 GL, representing 6.9% of Melbourne’s storage capacity. This was the same as what was delivered in 2019–20. Without the water delivered since 2016–17, Melbourne’s storages would have finished the year at 56% in 2020–21 instead of 75%.

Rainfall Key Created with Sketch. Declining Stable Rising LEVELS KEY

Groundwater levels

(short term trend <5 years)

In the state’s groundwater management areas in 2020–21: 10 were categorised as declining, 17 were stable, and 12 were rising; compared to 16 declining, 17 stable and 7 rising in 2019–20.

In the state's water supply protection areas in 2020–21: 4 were categorised as declining, 4 as stable and 3 as rising; compared to 7 declining, 3 stable and 1 rising in 2019–20.

Water Restrictions

There were no towns with urban restrictions in place in 2020–21, 32 fewer than the previous year, with all towns on permanent water-saving rules from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021

Town Water Restriction for 2007-2008 Town Water Restriction for 2008-2009 Town Water Restriction for 2009-2010 Town Water Restriction for 2010-2011 Town Water Restriction for 2011-2012 Town Water Restriction for 2012-2013 Town Water Restriction for 2013-2014 Town Water Restriction for 2014-2015 Town Water Restriction for 2015-2016 Town Water Restriction for 2016-2017 Town Water Restriction for 2017-2018 Town Water Restriction for 2018-2019 Town Water Restriction for 2019-2020 Town Water Restriction for 2020-2021

Towns with urban water restrictions

  • 2007-08
  • 2008-09
  • 2009-10
  • 2010-11
  • 2011-12
  • 2012-13
  • 2013-14
  • 2014-15
  • 2015-16
  • 2016-17
  • 2017-18
  • 2018-19
  • 2019-20
  • 2020-21

More than 450 towns were subject to restrictions at the peak of the Millennium Drought in 2007.

Number of unregulated streams on restrictions across Victoria


Hover your mouse over the circles to view the number of streams on restrictions for that month/year.

Fewer streams
on restrictions
More streams
on restrictions

The number of streams on restrictions and bans reached a peak of 115 in February 2021, compared to 145 in January 2020. There were 30 streams on restrictions at the end of 2020–21, compared to 25 at the end of 2019–20.

Seasonal water allocations

In 2020-21, opening allocations announced in July 2020 were a little higher than the previous year, but were low for almost all systems except Coliban and Thomson-Macalister. By February 2021, all northern and southern system had received seasonal determinations of 100% high-reliability water shares, higher than the previous year when only three systems were at 100% at this time.

Unlike the previous year, seasonal determinations to high-reliability entitlements in all northern declared water systems in 2020–21 reached 100%. The Bulllarook and Broken systems also received seasonal determinations of 100% low-reliability water shares.

Southern systems were the same as the previous year when the Thomson–Macalister and Werribee and Bacchus Marsh systems both received a 100% allocation against high- and low-reliability entitlements.

Allocations for the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Product began with initial allocations of 0%, and ended higher with 57% in March 2021. In the Coliban Rural system, entitlement holders had access to 100% of their entitlement for the entire year for the tenth year in a row.