The Victorian Government has announced it will only make use of the state’s recently constructed north-south water pipeline in times of ‘critical human need’.


State Water Minister Peter Walsh announced that the pipeline would only be used if Melbourne’s catchment levels dropped below 30 per cent.


"Water from the north-south pipeline will only be considered as a last resort for use during extremely dry conditions or for fire-fighting purposes," Mr Walsh said.


"Melbourne's water will be stored in Eildon as Melbourne's insurance policy against Stage 4 water restrictions in the future."


"Melbourne's water storages are over 64 per cent, and total water consumption in October was 20 megalitres a day less than the same time in 2010," Mr Walsh said.


Mr Walsh said Melbourne's water retailers would have a seasonal allocation against high reliability water shares in the Goulburn system, the same as other entitlement holders.


"Any water which is transferred down the pipeline must be part of Melbourne's share of water from Stage 1 of the Food Bowl Modernisation Project," Mr Walsh said.


"In return for their contribution towards the project, Melbourne's retail water businesses will continue to hold legal rights allowing them to trade the water in years when it is not needed.


"The pipeline will also be maintained and charged with water so it can be used for fire-fighting."