The latest updates from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority

River Murray operations 22-29 July

Posted on July 31, 2015 by Beatrix - MDBA

Welcome to our weekly report of river operations on the Murray including rainfall, inflows and operations for the river week ending 29 July.

Rainfall and Inflows

Rainfall was widespread across the Murray-Darling Basin this week with the highest totals recorded in the Victorian Alps, the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.

Rain this week prompted renewed stream flow rises along the upper Murray tributaries with many sites recording their highest flows this year. However, River Murray System inflows are still well below the long-term average for this time of year.

See full weekly report for rainfall and flow figures.

Paddle Steamer Emmylou on the river Murray at Echuca over the weekend (Photo: Tom Zouch, MDBA)

Paddle Steamer Emmylou on the river Murray at Echuca over the weekend (Photo: Tom Zouch, MDBA)

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Changes in mid-Murray weir pool levels from August

Posted on July 31, 2015 by Eleanor - MDBA

Starting next week, landholders and river users on the River Murray are advised to take into account changing weir pool heights at lock 15 at Robinvale and at locks 7, 8 and 9 between Wentworth and the South Australian Border.

Historically weir pool levels have been kept at a reasonably constant height, but as part of a trial to restore a more natural wetting and drying cycle, the MDBA will raise and lower these pool levels between August 2015 and June 2016.

The Lock 15 weir pool level is expected to increase by up to 60cm above the full supply level (FSL) over late-winter and spring, returning to FSL over summer and be lowered by up to 30cm below FSL by mid-autumn.

The weir pool levels at Lock 7, 8 and 9 are expected to increase by up to 50cm, 80cm and 20cm respectively above the FSL over late-winter and early spring, and be lowered by up to 50cm, 80cm and 10cm respectively below FSL over late-spring and summer.

The table below outlines the plan on a month-by-month basis. These are indicative water levels only; actual river operations may differ.

Pool height relative to full supply level (metres)

Month Lock 7 Lock 8 Lock 9 Lock 15
July 2015 +0 +0 +0 +0
August +0.25 +0.60 +0.20 +0.25
September +0.50 +0.80 +0.20 +0.50
October +0.25 +0.50 -0.10 +0.60
November -0.50 -0.50 -0.10 +0.40
December -0.50 -0.80 -0.10 +0
January 2016 -0.25 -0.80 -0.10 +0
February -0.25 -0.60 -0.10 +0
March +0 -0.60 +0 +0
April +0 -0.25 +0 -0.20
May +0 +0 +0 -0.30
June +0 +0.40 +0 -0.30

The trial is being conducted by the MDBA in cooperation with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Water NSW, SA Water and the Mallee Catchment Management Authority.

The MDBA will issue a revised flow advice if there are any significant changes to the plan, which will also be available on the MDBA website at www.mdba.gov.au.

River users wanting more information on river heights can contact the MDBA on (02) 6279 0100 or receive updates at www.mdba.gov.au/river-data/current-information-forecasts/weekly-report.

Live river data for the River Murray system can be seen at: http://livedata.mdba.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE – 31 JULY 2015


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MDBA chief to take up new role

Posted on July 30, 2015 by Eleanor - MDBA

Murray–Darling Basin Authority chief executive Rhondda Dickson has announced she will be taking up a Deputy Secretary role at the Department of the Environment when her term ends late September.

Dr Dickson said her four years at the MDBA had been highly rewarding and it was a pleasure to support successive governments to deliver these important water reforms that would bring long-term benefits to the Australian community.

“It has been a real privilege for me to lead the MDBA over the past four years,” Dr Dickson said.

“During this time I have worked with a wonderful team that has shown great professionalism and commitment through the process of developing a Basin Plan and undertaking the past two years of implementation.

“I am extremely proud of our many staff who regularly travel the basin for the respect they show in taking the time to understand people’s views and concerns so we can get the best outcomes for all communities. I am honoured to have been a member of their team.”

Dr Dickson said a highlight of her role had been the opportunity to work with so many people from across the basin who were passionate about their rivers and their communities.

“I’d like to thank the many people who have continued to help with this historic reform and who have been instrumental in helping to develop a plan that is designed to shore up the future of our basin communities and industries.

“Securing a sustainable future for the basin can’t be achieved overnight, so I’d like to acknowledge and thank those who remain committed to this long-term process.

“In particular, the members of the MDBA’s advisory committees who play such an important role in shaping these reforms—the Basin Community Committee, the Northern Basin Advisory Committee, the Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences, the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations and Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations.

“I would especially like to thank my fellow Authority members who have supported me and contributed so much of their time over the years. They all bring different perspectives to the task and this has been invaluable in helping to deliver these water reforms.”

Dr Dickson said she was looking forward to continuing to work in the important area of natural resource policy and would be taking up the role of Deputy Secretary with responsibility for the Office of Environmental Science and Economics including the two climate change divisions at the Department of the Environment later this year.

MDBA chief executive Dr Rhondda Dickson on the PS Marion at a Blanchetown centenary event on 5 June 2015.

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 JULY 2015

For more information, contact the MDBA media office at media@mdba.gov.au or 02 6279 0141.


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The latest in social and economic analysis

Posted on July 30, 2015 by Chevelle - MDBA

Industries and communities throughout the MurrayDarling Basin are constantly affected by a range of policy, economic, social and climatic factors. The social and economic monitoring and evaluation of the Basin Plan water reforms will need to consider these multiple drivers of change. Multiple sources of information will be used in this evaluation. Community engagement will be essential for helping to interpret this information. This includes people providing us with their experiences of adapting to the water reforms in the context of the constantly-changing social and economic circumstances.

An infographic which shows the many areas the MDBA is working across in their social and economic evaluation. These areas include community engagement, regional and industry case studies, evaluating the social and economic benefits of environmental flows, Aboriginal partnerships, Northern Basin economic modelling, understanding the effects of water infrastructure investment, examining various trends and drivers, examining the role of water markets and developing economic models for agriculture.

This infographic shows the many areas we are working across in our social and economic analysis – click to view larger image

MDBA will provide an update of information as it becomes available. This will include information describing the general changes in economic and social circumstances of rural communities and more specifically in the Murrumbidgee, Lachlan and NSW Murray regions. Results from the Well Being Survey and analysis of changes in the irrigated agriculture sectors will be added later in the year.


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Our latest community engagement

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Lara - MDBA

The MDBA recognises that the people who live and work in the Basin have a deep knowledge of their region and so we work closely with communities to ensure this local knowledge informs our work.

A snapshot of our engagement throughout 2014-15

A snapshot of our engagement throughout 2014-15 – click to view larger image

We do this in a number of ways:

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A better online experience at mdba.gov.au

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Lara - MDBA

We’re changing

You’ve spoken and we’ve listened. We’re making changes to mdba.gov.au based on your feedback. You told us our website was overwhelming and too complex, so we’re simplifying the layout and streamlining our content. We’re confident that you’ll find the website easier to navigate, so you can get things done faster.

New website release date: progressively from July 2015

Improved news content

The first thing you’ll start to notice is that our news channels have been incorporated into our homepage, this should make it easier for you to access information about our current work. Our blog is a great place to read about latest news and events and our social media channels Facebook, Twitter and YouTube provide an engaging glimpse into what’s happening in the Basin.

New look

We’ve introduced an uncluttered design with a simplified layout to make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for.

A screenshot of the interim refresh of the mdba.gov.au website

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The latest from the northern basin

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Eleanor - MDBA

We’re working on the three key areas for the northern basin review including:

  • socio-economic work to look at how recovering water from different parts of the river system is likely to affect communities and industries;
  • scientific work to get clearer information about the water needs of the environment in the north and to see if that might lead to changes to the extraction limits for some catchments; and
  • hydrological modelling to get a better understanding of what the effects are when water is recovered from different parts of the river.

We expect to finish this research and investigation, the first of four phases, by the end of 2015.

For the next phases, we’ll use the information we gather to consult with northern communities and governments and do more analysis on the best final settings to put forward for the Basin Plan.

Farm near Pittsworth, Queensland on Gore highway between Toowoomba and Goondiwind

Farm near Pittsworth, Queensland on Gore highway between Toowoomba and Goondiwindi. Photo by Arthur Mostead

Our dedicated Northern Basin Advisory Committee is set up to give us independent community advice, is closely involved in the review, meets with us regularly, and issues their own updates.

View more information about the northern basin

Read more information about the review

Read the latest news from the committee


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