Today is the last day of the draft Basin Plan consultation period. Have you had your say and sent us your submission? There are only a few hours to go.
The world of river operations continues unabated. As usual, the full River Murray Weekly Report – including images, graphs and data on flow and salinity – is available on the MDBA website in pdf and doc formats.
MDBA active storage decreased by 39 GL during the week and is currently 7,032 GL (82% capacity). At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage increased by 6 GL and is now 3,184 GL (83% capacity). The release from Dartmouth, measured at Colemans, remained at 200 ML/day. At Hume Reservoir, the storage decreased by 34 GL during the week and is now 2,633 GL (88% capacity). The release from Hume was decreased over the Easter period and is currently targeting a flow downstream at Doctors Point of 10,200 ML/day. The target flow is expected to remain in the range of 10,000 to 11,000 ML/day over the coming days.
At Lake Mulwala, the pool level is currently 124.81 m AHD. The weir was operated to maintain a pool level close to 124.8 m AHD over the Easter period but the level should now ease back towards 124.7 over the coming days depending on any variation from the expected diversions. Diversions from Lake Mulwala have remained fairly steady over the past two weeks averaging around 6,800 ML/day over the last 7 days compared with 6,700 ML/day during the preceding week. The release from Yarrawonga Weir is currently 7,000 ML/day, and is expected to remain steady over the coming week.
Downstream at the Edward River and Gulpa Creek Offtakes, diversion into the Edward River has remained steady at around 1,600 ML/day through the Edward River offtake and 350 ML/day through the Gulpa Creek Offtake. Along the Bullatale Creek, the flow has now dropped back to 80 ML/day, well down from the peak of 4,800 ML/day observed on 15 March. At the Edward escape, water continues to be delivered from Mulwala Canal to the Edward River, while the additional flow being added to the Wakool system is now being reduced. At Stevens Weir, the release has averaged around 2,000 ML/day during the week and is expected to remain above 2,000 ML/day over the coming days. On the Billabong Creek, very high flows are continuing at Darlot. The level has remained fairly steady over the past week with the flow at around 5,600 ML/day. Downstream on the Edward River, the flow at Moulamein has crept back up and is now flowing at 9,200 ML/day following the arrival of flood flows from the Billabong Creek. On the lower Wakool River the flow at Kyalite peaked at around 18,000 ML/day last week and has now receded to 15,800 ML/day.
On the Goulburn River, the flow at McCoys Bridge receded from 4,400 to 3,000 ML/day, but should rise slightly in the coming days. At Torrumbarry Weir the flow in the Murray has receded for most of the week and is now at 9,900 ML/day. The flow should decrease only slightly over the coming days. At Swan Hill, the flow fell away as expected, decreasing from 19,700 to 11,200 ML/day.
Inflow from the Murrumbidgee River began increasing more rapidly over the last few days as the main flood waters started to arrive at Balranald, where the flow is now 12,500 ML/day and rising. The Bureau of Meteorology is now forecasting a peak close to 6.8 m on 20 April with minor to moderate flooding. For information regarding flood warnings please refer to the Bureau of Meteorology website.
At Euston, the flow peaked late in the week at 37,300 ML/day. This peak has come in well under previous expectations and is due to the delayed arrival of flood water from the Murrumbidgee River, which is now forecast to arrive well after the River Murray peak has passed. However, a slow and extended recession is now expected, and should maintain good flows through the Sunraysia region and into South Australia for many weeks to come. The level at Euston rose to just above normal pool level over Easter but has now dropped back slightly. The weir will now be re-instated, with stop logs being added gradually over the coming days in order to hold the pool relatively steady.
At Mildura, the final stages of the weir removal will not be required due to the lower peak. The level continued rising slowly over the Easter period and is now 33.54 m AHD or 86 cm below normal pool level. Drop bars will be added back to the weir resulting in the level rising back towards normal pool level during the coming days.
On the Darling River, the flow at Wilcannia – upstream of the Menindee Lakes – is now in excess of 40,000 ML/day and close to a peak causing major flooding. A similar flow rate is also passing along the Talyawalka Creek, an anabranch of the Darling River that flows during flood events. At Menindee Lakes, the storage volume has increased by 18 GL to 1,432 GL (83%). Release from the Lakes (measured at Weir 32) has been held at an average of 35,000 ML/day during the past week, and with inflows gradually increasing, the lakes will continue to rise over the coming weeks as peak flood flows arrive from upstream. On the lower Darling, the flow at Burtundy continues to inch up and is now flowing at around 19,000 ML/day. For further information on the flood operations at Menindee Lakes, please refer to the NSW Office of Water website.
At Wentworth, the flow continued rising over Easter, reaching 58,400 ML/day. With the weir dismantled, the river remains free flowing through the weir, however with a peak now expected at Wentworth during the coming week, the timing for re-instating the navigable pass will be under review early next week.
At Lake Victoria, the storage volume decreased by 30 GL and is currently 434 GL (64% capacity). The flow to South Australia has averaged 59,400 ML/day over the past week and is expected to remain close to 60,000 ML/day over the next few days but may begin decreasing later in the week.
At the Lower Lakes, strong south-westerly winds combined with relatively high tides forced Barrage gates to be closed at times during the past week; and with increasing inflows, the average level rose by 9 cm to 0.74 m AHD (1 cm below full supply level).