River Murray Ops Update – 27 February

Welcome to our weekly report of river operations on the Murray. This one covers the river week ending 25 February.

Rainfall and inflows

At the start of the week, a surface trough extending from inland western Queensland, through New South Wales and central Victoria triggered thunderstorms and showers. This produced moderate rainfall totals for parts of eastern Victoria, through central New South Wales and light rainfall for southwest Queensland (Bureau of Meteorology).

A low pressure system located on the monsoon trough, over the Coral Sea deepened and developed into tropical cyclone Marcia on 18 February. Cyclone Marcia reached the east coast on 20 February bringing heavy rain. Thunderstorms also formed along a surface trough situated through Queensland’s interior producing light to moderate falls for southern inland Queensland and areas of northwest and central New South Wales (Bureau of Meteorology).

In Queensland, Cunnamulla in the Warrego catchment received 63mm of rain for the week, while The Head and Killarney in the upper Condamine Balonne received 128mm and 56mm respectively. In New South Wales, notable rainfall totals included 40mm at Glen Innes in the north east and 38mm at Mulwala Post Office on the River Murray. In Victoria, Myrtleford in the Ovens catchment received 32mm and Hinnomunjie in the Mitta Mitta catchment recorded 37mm.

There was little rain across the upper Murray catchments this week and stream flows remained low. On the Mitta Mitta River, the flow at Hinnomunjie Bridge was relatively steady, averaging 270 ML/day. On the upper River Murray, the flow at Biggara receded from 390 to 330 ML/day while on the Ovens River, the flow at Wangaratta remained around 300 ML/day.

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River Murray Ops Update – 20 February

Welcome to our weekly report of river operations on the Murray. This one covers the river week ending 18 February.

Rainfall and inflows

A persistent late summer weather pattern has maintained heat and atmospheric instability over the Murray-Darling Basin, with warm, humid days and scattered showers and thunderstorms for much of the past week. Patchy rainfall was recorded across areas of NSW and Victoria, with the highest weekly totals in the south-east over the Ovens, upper Murray and Murrumbidgee River catchments and through south-central NSW. The northern and far western Basin was mostly dry.

Storms across the south-east ranges triggered modest stream flow responses along many of the upper system tributaries, however overall system inflows thus far for February continue to track below the long-term average.

Storms gather along the Murrumbidgee yesterday (source: Russell James, MDBA)

Storms gather along the Murrumbidgee yesterday (source: Russell James, MDBA)

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River Murray Ops Update – 13 February

Welcome to our weekly report of river operations on the Murray. This one covers the river week ending 11 February.

Rainfall and inflows

Conditions were hot and dry across the Basin this week, with most areas recording little or no rainfall. Almost the entire Murray valley from Albury to South Australia sweltered through a series of mid to high 30 degree days, and similar or hotter temperatures were also experienced throughout western NSW.

Highest weekly rain totals in Queensland included 23 mm at The Head and 20 mm at Derbyshire Downs. In NSW, 36 mm fell at Cooma and 14 mm at Young; whilst in Victoria, 7 mm was recorded at Nhill.

Stream flows in the upper tributaries continued receding this week, and are now down to their lowest point so far this summer. Upstream of Dartmouth Dam, the Mitta Mitta River at Hinnomunjie Bridge decreased from 220 ML/day to 180 ML/day. On the Upper Murray, the flow at Biggara receded from 330 ML/day to 290 ML/day; whilst on the Ovens River, the flow at Wangaratta fell to 140 ML/day before increasing back up to 170 ML/day.
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River Murray Ops Update – 6 February

Welcome to this week’s River ops update which includes a summary of conditions over the past month.

River Operations

MDBA total storage decreased by 147 GL this week, with the active storage now 4,694 GL (56% capacity).

At Dartmouth Reservoir, storage decreased by 32 GL to 3,110 GL (81% capacity). Bulk transfers continue to Hume Reservoir with the release, measured at the Colemans gauge, increased earlier in the week from 3,500 ML/day to 4,500 ML/day. Flows will be reduced over the coming week to 4,000 ML/day.

At Hume Reservoir, the storage volume decreased by 83 GL to 1365 GL (45% capacity). The release averaged around 16,700 ML/day over the past week, and is currently around 17,000 ML/day.

At Yarrawonga Weir, diversions at the irrigation offtakes totalled around 36 GL compared with 55 GL this time last year. Even with the water diverted around the Barmah choke through Yarrawonga Main Channel and Mulwala Canal, releases at or close to maximum channel capacity have been necessary to meet downstream demands for much of the 2014-15 water year. Releases are forecast to remain at channel capacity through to autumn if conditions are dry.

On the Edward River system, diversions at Edward offtake and Gulpa offtakes averaged 1,930 ML/day for the week. Deliveries of water around the Barmah choke via the Edward River Escape averaged around 1,000 ML/day for the week. Wakool Main Canal orders have averaged around 1,100 ML/day and the flow downstream of Stevens Weir continues at around 2,100 ML/day.

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River Murray Ops Update – 30 January

Welcome to this week’s river ops update.

MDBA total storage decreased by 140 GL this week, with the active storage now at 4,834 GL (55% capacity).

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage decreased by 17 GL to 3,142 GL (81% capacity). The release, measured at Colemans gauge, was held at 3,000 ML/day for much of the week before increases commenced late in the week. A flow of 4,500 ML/day is planned for the coming days.

At Hume Reservoir, the storage volume reduced by 89 GL this week with the total storage decreasing to below 50% capacity at 1,448 GL (48% capacity). Releases were varied between 15,000 and 19,000 ML/day during the week to meet downstream demands. The average daily flow at Doctors Point (downstream of the Kiewa River junction) was 18,600 ML/day.

Total diversions into the two major irrigation offtakes from Lake Mulwala increased slightly this week, with around 7,000 ML/day currently being diverted. The pool level in Lake Mulwala is currently 124.74 m AHD and the downstream release from Yarrawonga Weir is steady at 10,100 ML/day.

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River Murray Ops Update- 23 January

Welcome to our weekly report of River Operations on the Murray. This one covers the river week ending 21 January.

Rainfall and inflows

Humid weather and rain contracted to the northern Basin at the beginning of the week, with quite dry conditions persisting until week’s end when a new trough system brought scattered showers to eastern areas. Highest weekly rainfall totals were recorded across the far northern Basin in Queensland and in north-eastern NSW; with lighter rain in the NSW Riverina and north-eastern Victoria. Most of the western Basin remained dry.

The highest rain totals in Queensland included 96 mm at Miles, 60 mm at Mungallala, 54 mm at Goondiwindi and 48 mm at Texas. Totals in NSW included 48 mm at Gravesend, 39 mm at Inverell, 34 mm at Grong Grong and 33 mm at Ardlethan. In north-eastern Victoria, there was 37 mm at Wodonga and 26 mm at Barnawartha.

Stream flows in the upper tributaries are steadily receding following the previous week’s good rainfall. Upstream of Dartmouth Dam, the Mitta Mitta River at Hinnomunjie Bridge fell from 700 ML/day to 300 ML/day. On the upper Murray, the flow at Biggara fell from 1,200 ML/day to 400 ML/day; whilst on the Ovens River, the flow at Wangaratta peaked at 700 ML/day before receding to 340 ML/day.

Tom Groggin in the upper Murray

The upper Murray River in Kosciuszko National Park

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River Murray Ops Update – 16 January

Welcome to our weekly report of river operations on the Murray. This one covers the river week ending 14 January.

Rainfall and inflows

Rainfall was widespread across the Murray-Darling Basin during the past week with only northern areas missing out on any notable totals. The rain fell over a number of days in association with significant tropical moisture that tracked into south-eastern Australia with a complex trough system that linked to the monsoon-affected north-west of the continent.

Weekly rain totals in excess of 50 mm were widespread through central and southern areas with accumulations in excess of 100 mm in the south-east, central west and the South Australian Murray Valley.

Aerial view of Cockran Creek in early December, showing the watered area in the foreground. Photo credit to Emma Wilson, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Aerial view of Cockran Creek in early December, showing the watered area in the foreground. Photo credit to Emma Wilson, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

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