Victor Szwed

Daylesford has seen very dry conditions over the past couple of months together with frosty mornings. Some nice sunny days have partly compensated, however, what are we likely to see over the coming months?

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) updates its outlooks each Thursday for the coming weeks, months and seasons. Recently, the BOM was expecting drier and warmer than average conditions for much of Victoria and large parts of Australia. These forecasts have eased and as of a few days ago, the BOM has forecast rainfall in the typical range for July to September for eastern, northern and western Australia with above average rainfall for central Australia and below average for parts of Tasmania.

For July itself, below average rainfall is still likely for much of southern Australia. Some areas have recorded serious rainfall deficiencies since February with totals in the lowest 10% for years since 1900. Hopefully, much of Victoria will see somewhere near average rainfall over the July to September period. Our farmers need soil moisture to give their winter and spring crops and grasses a boost.

Warmer than average days and nights are very likely across the continent.

Daylesford’s rainfall for the first six months of this year at 260mm is below the long-term average of 349mm. May and June have been particularly dry. June totalled only 37.4mm compared to the average of 106mm.

Water supplies have been dropping across much of Australia. Melbourne’s reservoirs are around 86.5% full compared to 91.7% last year – still not too bad. Daylesford’s reservoirs have steadily dropped to 63% compared to being 100% full this time last year. Our reservoirs are not large and can recover fairly quickly if we have some decent rainfalls. Also, the new pipeline Central Highlands Water is completing soon will have capacity to back-up our supply.

Another beautiful sunrise in Daylesford. (Photo: Victor Szwed)

Winter is a good time to assess your garden together with your water usage. Get advice, look at opportunities to improve how you use water. Look at what you might grow from spring into summer if you enjoy a vegetable garden. I have learnt not to be over ambitious in growing warmer climate plants as the frosts and cold winds really knock them about. Can you can create a micro climate to protect these plants? Using greenhouses, picking a sheltered part of your garden and picking varieties that have been bred for cooler conditions can make a difference.

Victor Szwed is a Daylesford resident who writes a regular column for The Wombat Post.