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Published: 03 April 2020   •   Media release

Water levels during April in the River Murray downstream of Hume Dam are expected to continue to be more variable than in recent months, as demand for irrigation water responds to intermittent welcome rainfall.

The MDBA Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds, said the return of warmer and drier weather in late March led to increased orders from irrigators and to meet system demands, however this was likely to ease in April if reasonable rain fell across the Murray and its tributaries.

"The widespread rain forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology over Easter could mean a return to lower flows in the river in line with reduced demand and subsequent smaller releases from Hume dam," Mr Reynolds said.

"Irrigators and other utilities along the river need to remain alert to changing conditions and adjust their pumps as necessary as the river height varies.

"We had an uptick in demand later than usual in the irrigation season, so releases from the dam increased recently to ensure water orders could be delivered. That boosted river heights from their low levels during the rainy period in early March, when many irrigators called off their orders. 

"This holiday season will certainly be different to any other along the river, with visitors who traditionally flock to the region largely absent as measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 restrict movement and gatherings. Many public riverside places will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

"However, one thing that remains the same is the need to store as much water as possible in the dams for future use because every drop counts," Mr Reynolds said.

"The MDBA continues to be on the job managing the Murray system for all river users and preparing for the next water year."

Updates on Murray flows are available in the River Murray Weekly Report.

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


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