LANDOWNERS across southern Victoria are facing water restrictions as severe as those at the height of the drought in 2009.
Hard to control: CFA and DSE workers try to contain a fire burning in the Grampians. Picture: JASON EDWARDS
There are bans and restrictions on more than 30 creeks and rivers across southern Victoria from Gippsland to Port Phillip and Western Port and southwest Victoria.
The ban includes two creeks with a "qualification of rights" where no water is allowed to be taken under any circumstances including for stock and domestic uses.
Southern Rural Water general manager of groundwater and rivers Craig Parker said customers on these creeks - the Turitable and Willimigongon creeks near Macedon - had access to urban water supplies.
The Macedon area has recorded less than 10mm of rain in the past month.
Mr Parker said water was trading for $70 to $150 in the Macalister Irrigation District and there were reports of trades of up to $400 in the Bacchus Marsh and Werribee districts.
He said river and groundwater trades of $40 for temporary water and $1000ML for permanent water was not "unrealistic".
Figures from the Victorian Water Register show trades of $140ML on the Goulburn and up to $163 on the Murray.
Victorian Farmers Federation water council chairman Richard Anderson said temporary water was trading for $48-50ML in the northern systems.
"People say that is expensive for a year when there's plenty of water around," Mr Anderson said.
"Irrigators are using so much because it's been so dry the plants are just soaking it up."
All systems in the Goulburn Murray irrigation region have 100 per cent high reliability water, while the Broken, Campaspe and Bullarook also have 100 per cent low reliability water.
However, there are suspensions on diverters on 22 streams in the Murray northeast and five in the Goulburn Broken.
In Victoria's northwest, Lower Murray Water reported a 70 per cent jump in water use when compared to last year.
Water use in LMW's rural areas increased by 144,167ML.