River Murray Ops Update – 27 March

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

Rainfall and inflows

There was contrasting weather across the Murray-Darling Basin this week, although temperatures remained warm in most areas and generally dry conditions continued through central, western and southern areas. Conditions in the east and north-east were wetter, with showers and storms bringing some rainfall along the NSW ranges and to south-east Queensland with the passage of two trough systems.

The rain across the east was also quite patchy meaning some areas recorded worthwhile rain, while other locations missed out.

Small amounts of rain over the upper Murray catchments had little impact on flows, with most gauges remaining close to the relatively low levels of one week ago. Continue reading the update…

River Murray Ops Update – 20 March

Calling basin birders

We have put a call out to birders to tell us about the interesting species, and feeding and breeding events they observe in the Basin. Find out more about how you can help us track the health of the basin year-round.

River operations on the Murray

For the river week ending Wednesday 18 March.

Rainfall

Rainfall followed a similar pattern to last week, with only light rain or dry conditions through the south and patchy showers and thunderstorms in the north due to a weak inland trough.

Continue reading the update…

Help us monitor birdlife in the basin

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority is putting a call out to birders to tell us about the interesting species, feeding events or breeding events that you observe in the Basin.

To achieve the best outcomes for environmental water recovery and delivery, we monitor the response of basin ecosystems to watering programs.

Basin birdlife provide some of the best indicators of health and responses to environmental watering. The number of birds, range of species, and spread and success of breeding events—particularly for waterbirds—all give us clear signals about the many types of ecosystems reliant on basin water resources.

Whistling kite over the Chowilla floodplain, South Australia, September 2014. Photo credit Vic Hughes.

Whistling kite over the Chowilla floodplain, South Australia, September 2014. Photo credit Vic Hughes.

Continue reading the update…

River Murray Ops Update – 13 March

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

Rainfall and inflows

Fine and mostly dry early autumn weather has been a feature of the past week across the Murray-Darling Basin. The only rain of any significance was recorded towards the end of the week over the northern Basin, where a weak inland trough triggered showers across northern NSW and southern Queensland.

Dry conditions over the south-eastern ranges resulted in a slow recession along the upper system tributaries, which are now providing no more than a limited base flow. For example, on the Mitta Mitta River, the flow at Hinnomunjie Bridge decreased from 200 to 160 ML/day. On the upper Murray, the flow at Biggara receded from 260 to 230 ML/day – the lowest flow seen here since February 2010. On the Ovens River, flows are mostly being maintained by releases from Lake Buffalo, with the flow at Wangaratta steady at around 190 ML/day.

River Murray salinity (measured as electrical conductivity) at Euston Weir since 1970.

River Murray salinity (measured as electrical conductivity or EC) at Euston Weir since 1970.

Continue reading the update…

River Murray Ops Update – 6 March

Welcome to our weekly report of river operations on the Murray. This one takes a look back at February 2015 and covers the river week ending 4 March.

A look back at last month

February was a relatively hot and dry month across most of the Murray-Darling Basin. In the southern Basin, temperatures for the month were generally above average, with a large section of the Murray valley experiencing temperatures very much above average. Along with the heat, rainfall for February was below average throughout much of the Murray valley, as well as large sections of southern Queensland and north-east NSW. Across the Basin as a whole, the Bureau of Meteorology has reported area-averaged rain totalling 19.9 mm, which is 51% below the long-term February mean.

The PS Cumberoona being carefully navigated out of Wodonga creek (photo credit Fraser Knolls).

The PS Cumberoona being carefully navigated out of Wodonga creek (photo credit Fraser Knolls).

Continue reading the update…

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.

Continue reading the update…

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)

Continue reading the update…