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Published: 20 November 2019   •   Media release

While recent rains delivered some flows in the Darling River past Tilpa weir, above-average temperatures and dry conditions characterised the past fortnight for the Murray–Darling Basin.

The MDBA Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said the latest drought update shows temperatures in the northern Basin were several degrees higher than the November average and there were persistently high winds, making fire-fighting efforts difficult.

"My thoughts are with those staring down these fires. The ongoing hot, dry and windy conditions, combined with water shortages, is making the task immensely challenging in the Basin's north-east," Phillip Glyde said.

"Higher temperatures are being influenced by dry westerly winds, which in turn increase the risk of heatwaves across most of the Basin. This pattern together with less moist air flowing from the east is reducing the rainfall over the Murray–Darling Basin.

"The water storages in the northern Basin continue to deteriorate, with levels falling again across most dams in the past fortnight. This continues the trend of the past three years, with little improvement forecast over summer.

"The southern Basin storage levels are less critical than those in the north, however lowering water availability in the River Murray System has resulted in South Australia receiving a reduced monthly base entitlement flow."

Mr Glyde said in the long-term, forecasts were for a hotter, drier Basin with more extreme weather events.

"The MDBA is working on a Climate Change Research Program which will consider more research on frequent drought events."

Continuing low rainfall across the Basin is also impacting water quality. Currently Lake Wyangan North at Griffith and Tullaroop Reservoir in Victoria are on high alert for blue-green algae.

Water pumpers are also reminded that the New South Wales Government embargo on A, B and C class licence holders pumping from the Darling River between the Culgoa River junction and Menindee Lakes will remain until the end of the year.

To read the drought update visit the MDBA website.


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