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Published: 05 November 2019   •   Media release

Rainfall in the past week across most of the Murray­­–Darling Basin brought many communities a welcome reprieve from the ongoing drought, which is now worse than previously recorded droughts for many areas of New South Wales.

The MDBA Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said the MDBA’s latest fortnightly drought update provided a comprehensive view of water availability and weather conditions from a Basin-wide perspective.

“Most notably this week, the New South Wales Government responded quickly to rain in the north-west by imposing an embargo on pumping water by A, B and C class licence holders from the Darling River between the Culgoa River junction and the Menindee Lakes.

“The order will be in place until the end of the year and means the flows currently in the Barwon-Darling River will be used for towns and stock and domestic supply only.

“While rain is welcome, it is not clear yet how far down the river system the flows will reach, as very dry soils soak up much of the runoff.

“Water storage levels in the northern Basin have been in decline for three years, and by the end of October 2019 they sat at 8 percent of combined capacity.

“In the southern Basin, where storages are currently at 45 per cent capacity, it was reassuring over the past week to see some rain falling over much of Victoria. Nonetheless, the forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates that dry conditions will persist over the remainder of spring and into summer.”

With low water levels and high temperatures, the risk of blue-green algae increases. Currently on high alert are the Lachlan River at Corrong, Lake Wyangan North at Griffith and Tullaroop Reservoir in Victoria.

The drought update brings together consolidated information from across the Basin that can provide ready access to details about local conditions. For more information and state agency contacts please refer to the drought update on the MDBA website at

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