River Murray Ops Update – 19 December

Rainfall and inflows

Rainfall across the Basin this week was primarily driven by a slow-moving trough that extended along the New South Wales-Queensland border into a low pressure system off the central New South Wales coast. This weather system generated moderate rainfall right along the east coast and over the Great Dividing Range, as well as heavy rain in parts of southern and central Queensland.

Lower Potterwalkagee Creek during the environmental watering event at Mulcra Island (Source: MDBA staff)

Lower Potterwalkagee Creek during the environmental watering event at Mulcra Island (Source: MDBA staff)

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Sharing perspectives on water in Deniliquin

Staff from the Murray–Darling Basin Authority met with Deniliquin irrigators a few weeks ago when they toured the property of local rice growers Vicki Meyer and Russell Tait.

The visit was the latest in a series of meetings in the district over the past twelve months to talk about different aspects of the Basin Plan, river management and the social landscape.

Rice, Deniliquin 26Nov2014

MDBA’s Melissa Meadowcroft said the visit was part of a familiarisation exercise to better understand how the basin works.

“A great number of MDBA staff have grown up or worked in farming districts across the basin, which helps give a personal perspective to our work.

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River Murray Ops Update – 12 December

Welcome to this week’s river ops update.

MDBA total storage decreased by 41 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,620 GL (67% capacity). At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume has decreased by 28 GL to 3,347 GL (87% capacity). The release, measured at Colemans, remained steady this week and is expected to continue at around 7,000 ML/day, until the end of December, under dry conditions. These releases are bulk transfers to ensure Hume can meet downstream demands this water year.

At Hume Reservoir, higher inflows and reduced demand slowed the rate of fall, with the storage volume decreasing by only 13 GL to 1,916 GL (64% capacity). Daily inflows reached around 13,500 ML/day and averaged 10,900 ML/day. Releases were reduced early in the week in anticipation of forecast rainfall.

Nests at Hattah Lakes. Source: MDBA.

Nests at Hattah Lakes. Source: MDBA.

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River Murray Ops Update – 5 December

Welcome to our latest river ops update which includes a summary of conditions over the past month.

November and spring 2014 summary

The northern part of the Basin was drier in November than in the south which had average rainfall. Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has reported that overall rainfall for the Basin was 51% below the long-term mean, with an area-averaged total of 19.5 mm – the 25th lowest November rainfall on record. BoM reports that spring area-average rainfall for the Murray-Darling Basin was also 51% below the mean which was equal 10th lowest on record.

Maximum temperatures for November were above average across almost all of Australia, including the Murray Darling-Basin. Spring 2014 was the warmest on record for Australia for the second year in a row. NSW and South Australia recorded their highest maximum temperature anomaly in spring (+3.20 and +2.74 degrees Celsius respectively) while Victoria recorded their 2nd highest (+2.63 degrees Celsius).

High temperatures and below-average rainfall meant low inflows for November. Monthly inflows (excluding Snowy and Darling and environmental inflows) decreased from around 320 GL in October to around 180 GL during November which is in the lowest 13% of records for the month of November.

In this river ops report, you will find a table showing monthly evaporation figures for MDBA storages. Menindee Lakes recorded the highest evaporation volume for November at approximately 40 (GL) even though it currently holds the least volume of any MDBA storage. Menindee Lakes has high evaporation rates because of its semi – arid climate, large surface area and shallow depth.

Despite the dry and hot conditions of spring, the last few weeks have seen reasonable rainfall in the upper catchments (for example, over 100mm at Mongans Bridge in the Kiewa Valley). Improvements to inflows are possible with some stronger follow up rain.

Water leaving Lake Victoria

Water leaving Lake Victoria last week. Source: MDBA

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River Murray Ops Update – 28 November

A milestone 

Last Saturday marked two years since the basin plan was ‘born’. We’ve been very busy over the past two years putting all parts of the plan into action. As many of you know, that’s meant meeting and collecting ideas from communities all over the basin. Thank you to everyone that has contributed and will continue to in the future. This is a long process and far from complete.

Below is the latest weekly report from our river operations team about current storage levels and flows across the system.

River operations

Thunderstorm activity towards the end of the week generated heavy bursts of rainfall across the mid-Murray, stimulating a short rise in river levels and a drop in irrigation demand. Follow-up rain forecast over the coming week has the potential to generate reasonable inflows if falls in the higher end of the forecast range eventuate.

Despite the recent rain, inflows to the Murray system for November continue to track well below the long-term average. Whilst El Niño thresholds have not been fully met, El Niño-like impacts have been observed in recent months across eastern Australia with generally above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall.

The latest climate outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates that drier conditions are likely to persist across much of south-east Australia for the next three months (December-February). Transfers of water downstream to Lake Victoria remain ongoing to keep the storage as high as possible leading into the summer months.

MDBA total storage decreased by 105 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,752 GL (68% capacity). At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume decreased 40 GL to 3,418 GL (89% capacity). The release is steady at 7,000 ML/day as water is transferred downstream to Hume Reservoir.

Murray at Swan Hill

The Murray at Swan Hill this week with a flow of 9,950 ML/day (source: Adam McLean, MDBA)

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River Murray Ops Update – 21 November

Welcome to our River ops update.

River operations

MDBA total storage fell by 95 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,845 GL (69% capacity).This is around 800 GL below the long-term average active storage volume for November.

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume has decreased by 26 GL to 3,458 GL (90% capacity). Release, measured at Colemans, was increased to 7,000 ML/day during the week as bulk transfers to Hume storage continued. This higher release is expected to continue through into December.

At Hume Reservoir, the storage volume fell 57 GL to 2,008 GL (67% capacity) with releases reducing to around 11,800 ML/day due to reduced irrigation demand.

Greens Swamp in Gunbower Forest

Greens Swamp in Gunbower Forest. Photo: MDBA.

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River Murray Ops Update – 14 November

Welcome to this week’s River ops update.

River operations

MDBA total storage fell by 120 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,927 GL (70% capacity).

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume has decreased by 25 GL to 3,484 GL (90% capacity). The release, measured at Colemans, was reduced to 3,000 ML/day early in the week for works in the Mitta Mitta reach. Releases are expected to begin increasing to 7,000 ML/day on the weekend.

At Hume Reservoir, the storage volume fell 82 GL to 2,065 GL (69% capacity) with releases averaging over 16,000 ML/day.

At Yarrawonga Weir, the total daily diversion through Mulwala Canal averaged 5,000 ML/day of which around 1,600 ML/day was diverted through Edward escape for delivery to Lake Victoria. Yarrawonga Main Channel averaged around 1,700 ML/day over the week. The release downstream of Yarrawonga Weir has been reduced by 300 ML/day to 10,000 ML/day ahead of the rain to reduce the likelihood of undesirable wetting of the Barmah-Millewa Forest.

On the Edward River system, the combined flow through the Edward and Gulpa offtakes is just over 1,900 ML/day. Diversions to the Wakool Main Canal are currently 950 ML/day. The flow downstream of Stevens Weir is near channel capacity at over 2,500 ML/day with the addition of water from the Edward escape.

Khancoban spillway

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