River Murray Ops Update – 29 August

Community Updates

The community update meetings will be on next week in Goolwa, Renmark, Murray Bridge and Mildura. More information about the meeting times and locations is on our website.

Lake Albert, South Australia

Lake Albert, South Australia

River Operations

MDBA active storage reached a peak of 6,366 GL during the week and is currently 6,359 GL (75% capacity).

MDBA Storages as at 27 August

MDBA Storages as at 27 August

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume increased by 6 GL to 3,647 GL (95% capacity). Releases for hydro-electricity generation continued this week. The flow, measured at Colemans, reduced at the start of the week from 3,000 ML/day to 1,000 ML/day.

At Hume Reservoir, the storage reached a peak of 2,267 GL early in the week and is currently 2,237 GL (74% capacity). The release peaked at 15,800 ML/day during the week and is currently 15,000 ML/day.

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River Murray Ops Update- 22 August

Draft Basin-wide Environmental Watering Strategy

The MDBA released the Draft Basin-wide Environmental Watering Strategy this week. The Strategy is a key component of work under the Basin Plan. The Strategy is available for public comment from this week until the 26 September.

A series of community meetings being held in the southern basin in early September will provide an opportunity for people wanting to hear more about environmental watering and the draft strategy.

Phylands Swamp in the Gunbower Forest after Environmental watering

Phylands Swamp in the Gunbower Forest after Environmental watering

River Operations

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume decreased by 1 GL this week to 3,641 GL (94% capacity). This decrease was a result of modest inflows and increased releases at Colemans. The average minimum release required from Dartmouth Reservoir varies between 200 and 500 ML/day depending on storage levels. Release has been averaging 200 ML/day since 1 July 2014, however at the beginning of the week, release was increased to 3,000 ML/day for three days to meet water quality and environmental objectives in the Mitta Mitta River. This variation to the flow has resulted in the release now averaging around 400 ML/day since 1 July 2014. As releases were receding, AGL Hydro ordered water for electricity generation which has seen Colemans rise from 1,200 ML/day to 3,000 ML/day. Releases are expected to reduce over the coming week.

At the beginning of the week Hume Dam releases were at the minimum of 600 ML/day to conserve water in upper Murray storage. Release was increased on Sunday from the minimum – for the first time since 5 June 2014 – to 6,000 ML/day. The decision to increase the release was brought about by the recession of flows on the Kiewa and Ovens Rivers and the beginning of the irrigation season. Over much of winter, the Kiewa and Ovens Rivers have been meeting and exceeding downstream demands. Now that these rivers have receded they can supply only part of the downstream demands.

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River Murray Ops Update – 15 August

National Science Week

Don’t forget about National Science Week 16 – 24 August. You can find us at the Science in ACTion expo day at ANU, for schools today and families tomorrow. Drop by, have a chat and ask your questions. You’ll also be able to find us at the Geoscience Australia Open Day on Sunday 24 August, 10am – 3pm.

nswk_2014_inline_reverse_small

River Operations

MDBA total storage rose by 96 GL this week, with the active storage now 6,260 GL (74% capacity).

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume increased by 10 GL to 3,642 GL (94% capacity). Releases from Dartmouth have been briefly increased from 200 ML/day up to 3,000 ML/day at Colemans gauge to provide a pulse to benefit water quality and the environment along the Mitta Mitta River. Starting Friday, the release will be gradually reduced to 1,200 ML/day, and then held at this level as AGL draws on its entitlement for the purposes of electricity generation.

Inflows into Hume Reservoir over the past week averaged around 9,500 ML/day, increasing the storage by 65 GL to 2,207 GL (73% capacity). The release remains at the minimum rate of 600 ML/day. Inflows from the Kiewa River downstream of Hume maintained the flow in the Murray at Doctors Point at an average of 3,000 ML/day.

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River Murray Ops Update – 8 August

Welcome to this week’s River ops update, which also includes a summary of conditions over the past month and details of the Basin Plan community meetings.

Basin Plan Community update meetings

Another round of community updates on work under the Basin Plan will be held in the southern Murray–Darling Basin next month.

The MDBA will be hosting meetings in the following towns:

  • Goolwa
  • Murray Bridge
  • Renmark
  • Mildura
  • Shepparton
  • Deniliquin
  • Griffith

For further details and how to register your attendance see our latest media release.

River Operations

MDBA total storage rose by 121 GL this week, with the active storage now 6,157 GL (73% capacity).

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume increased by 28 GL to 3,632 GL (94% capacity). The release is steady at 200 ML/day. A short flow pulse may be released in the coming week to manage water quality and ecosystem functions in the Mitta Mitta River. A flow advice will be issued if this operation proceeds.

Inflows into Hume Reservoir over the past week averaged 14,000 ML/day, increasing the storage by 93 GL to 2,141 GL (71% capacity). The release remains at the minimum rate of 600 ML/day. Inflows from the Kiewa River downstream of Hume maintained the flow in the Murray at Doctors Point at an average of 4,000 ML/day.

At Lake Mulwala, the major irrigation offtakes continue to prepare for the coming irrigation season. Mulwala Canal has been diverting 1,500 ML/day, whilst Yarrawonga Main Channel is expected to re-commence channel filling next week. The release from Yarrawonga Weir is steady at around 11,500 ML/day, however it will be lowered over the coming week as inflows from the Ovens River recede. Once the release falls below the downstream channel capacity of the Barmah Choke (around 10,600 ML/day), regulators currently diverting water into Barmah-Millewa Forest are planned to be closed.

Lake Pamamaroo, Menindee Lakes. Photo: MDBA.

Lake Pamamaroo, Menindee Lakes. Photo: MDBA.

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River Murray Ops Update – 1 August

Welcome to this week’s River ops update.

MDBA total storage rose by 132 GL this week, with the active storage now 6,029 GL (71% capacity).

At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume increased by 17 GL to 3,603 GL (93% capacity). The release is steady at 200 ML/day at Colemans gauge. Inflows into Hume Reservoir over the past week averaged 13,500 ML/day, with the storage rising 90 GL to 2,048 GL (68% capacity). The release remains at the minimum flow of 600 ML/day. Inflows from the Kiewa River downstream of Hume maintained the flow in the Murray at Doctors Point at an average of 3,000 ML/day.

At Lake Mulwala preparations for the coming irrigation season are underway at the major irrigation offtakes. Diversions to Mulwala Canal commenced this week and are currently 1,500 ML/day. Yarrawonga Main Channel is continuing to divert around 100 ML/day. Due to receding inflows from the Ovens River, the release from Yarrawonga Weir reduced over the week to 12,000 ML/day. Further downstream, most regulators into the Barmah-Millewa Forest remain open as flows continue above the channel capacity of the Barmah Choke.

Goolwa Barrage in the  distance. Photo: MDBA.

Goolwa Barrage in the distance. Photo: MDBA.

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Investigating the cultural health of the basin

Aboriginal people in the Murray–Darling Basin have been looking at new ways to evaluate the cultural health of waterways. This is driven by the need to have their unique cultural relationship with land and water taken into account in decision making around water management in the basin.

To be of practical use, an evaluation has to express local values and beliefs, and be in a form that allows comparison of sites. Armed with this information Aboriginal leaders will be in a stronger position to contribute to water planning processes.

The Cultural Health Index is one such method. It was developed by Maori scientists in New Zealand to help Maori people participate in local water management in a meaningful way.

Aboriginal representatives learning about the Cultural Health Index from Maori Scientists in New Zealand

Aboriginal representatives learning about the Cultural Health Index from Maori Scientists in New Zealand

This index is being adapted to Australian circumstances, and as a tool that would allow Aboriginal traditional perspectives and knowledge to incorporate western scientific methods.

The Cultural Health Index is based on three main factors:

  • The traditional significance of the site
  • The food gathering and usefulness value of the site
  • The cultural stream health

The findings of the index would enable the Murray–Darling Basin Authority and other agencies to gain a clearer understanding of which sites Aboriginal people think are important.

The process of assessing the health of waterways using the Cultural Health Index involves:

  • careful site selection
  • a formal assessment process
  • data management and security
  • high quality supporting information
  • appropriate consent to use cultural knowledge

Trials of the index will be commencing in the basin soon, with a view to ensuring the methodology will work for Aboriginal people in the Basin.

Keep your eye out in the coming months for some examples on this blog of where the Cultural Health Index trials are taking place.

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River Murray Ops Update – 25 July

Welcome to this week’s River Ops update,

Collings Trophy Winner 2014

The 2014 award for the best maintained asset in the River Murray System was awarded to Lock and Weir 7 – Rufus River.

Congratulations to John Martin, Andrew Cooke, Michael Ricardi and Sid Lawson. The team’s attention to getting the maintenance of the assets ‘right’, particularly the approach to maintenance of older stoplogs gave them the edge over a very close field.

Mildura Weir

  • Work has commenced on the Mildura weir works this week, removing the trestles.
  • Users should expect to see low river levels for the next few weeks.
  • The works are a part of a major work to install mechanised gates.
Lock 7- Rufus River

Lock 7- Rufus River

River Operations

Inflows from the Ovens River over the past week have contributed to the announcement of unregulated flows in the River Murray from Barmah through to the South Australian border (including the Edward River). Within the River Murray system, unregulated flows are defined as flows that are in excess of downstream water demand (including South Australia entitlement), and which cannot be captured within Lake Victoria – the most downstream storage in the system.

Whilst recent conditions throughout the upper Murray system have been reasonably wet, advice from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) indicates a drier than normal August to October period is likely for much of the River Murray region. On the longer term outlook, the majority of climate models assessed by the BoM also suggest a weak El Niño event remains likely for the spring of 2014. MDBA’s river operators monitor these climate outlooks closely and consider a range of possible inflow scenarios for the year ahead. These considerations are factored into the River Murray System Annual Operating Plan, with the latest version for the 2014-15 water year due to be published on the MDBA website next week.

MDBA total storage rose by 208 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,897 GL (70% capacity).

Dam Levels July

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