The utility launched its annual cloud seeding programme today with storage volumes at 24.7%, which it notes is six percentage points up on a year ago but still down on average levels due to ongoing weakened hydrology.

Poor precipitation over the last decade has increased Tasmania’s reliance on the Basslink connector to import electricity from the Australian mainland. About a year ago the reservoir storage volumes were less than 19%.

Cloud seeding work is planned to continue until the end of October. The programme will focus efforts on the catchments of Lake Rowallan, Burbury, Mackintosh, King William, St Clair, Echo, Gordon and Great Lake, though the utility said it will also seek opportunities to undertake cloud seeding in agricultural areas outside of the river basins.

A study undertaken by Monash University reported a consistent increase of five percent or more in monthly rainfall caused by cloud seeding, said Hydro Tasmania. It asserted, therefore, that such work has a ‘small but significant’ role in improving hydrology.

While facing the ongoing weakened hydrology, the utility is advancing plans to improve renewables output with reservoir enlargements, proposed mini-hydro plants and water transfer between catchments.