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Published: 09 April 2019   •   Media release

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is reminding river users that River Murray levels downstream of Hume Dam are weather dependant and could be low or similar to current levels depending on where you are on the river this Easter and school holiday period.

MDBA Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds, said that if conditions remained dry then flows and river heights over Easter would be steady.

"Although Easter is not in peak irrigation season this year, with the ongoing dry conditions there remains a need to continuing releasing water from storage to meet system demands," Mr Reynolds said. 

"That means while there should be reasonable flow in the river, it is probable that this year's river levels will be lower than last year's, when Easter and school holidays were earlier in the irrigation season.  

"The eight-day forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology currently indicates a low likelihood of rain before Easter. Based on this I am expecting river flows to be similar to current levels.

"Should we receive significant rain, however, water demand is likely to drop and we would then release less water from the dams. This would mean river heights could drop as we conserve water in storages so we can maximise water availability for entitlement holders in the future."

Updates on expected Easter flows will be provided through the River Murray Weekly Report.

Mr Reynolds said the current drought shows how important it is to continue conserve water, with storages in the River Murray currently at 36 per cent, compared with last Easter when storages were 56 per cent full.

"I recognise that Easter is an important time for local businesses, with peaks in tourism and recreational activities taking place alongside and on the river, however, we cannot guarantee river levels. Our primary focus is to make sure we're optimising water availability for entitlement holders," Mr Reynolds said.

"It's important to remember that river levels can change and may not be the same as the last time people visited the river. It's a reminder to all of us to always consider safety when using our rivers.

"Recreational activities that require deeper water such as boating can take advantage of weir pools along the river should the river drop over Easter," Mr Reynolds said.

To check river levels and forecasts visit the MDBA's River Murray data site or look at the Bureau of Meteorology's 7-day Streamflow Forecasts.

For more information on how the MDBA takes into account communities' recreational needs, see the MDBA River recreation page.


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