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Published: 07 April 2020   •   Media release

River Murray communities between Euston and Lock 7 near the South Australian border are advised that flows and river heights are expected to vary over the next two to three weeks, as the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and state government agencies manage the arrival of water from the Darling River into the Murray.

MDBA head of River Management Andrew Reynolds said a range of actions to change current river levels would manage any impact on water quality when the lower Darling reconnected with the Murray.

"We are all looking forward to seeing water from the northern Basin arrive at Wentworth in mid-April, joining the two main arms of the Murray­–Darling Basin with the first decent flow since August 2018," Mr Reynolds said.

"In the interests of the local community and river environment, we'll be managing as efficiently as possible the arrival of the poor quality water at the head of the flow."

The joint action to manage the flow's safe arrival is a collaboration between the MDBA, WaterNSW, Goulburn-Murray Water, Lower Murray Water and SA Water.
 
"We will be lowering the Lock 10 weir pool level at Wentworth to actively draw the flow out of the Darling, as well as boosting the flow rate in the Murray by lowering the Euston Weir, and diverting some of the early flow into Lake Victoria where it will be further diluted for later, managed releases back into the Murray.

"We have consulted with local councils, irrigator groups and recreational businesses, and appreciate the local community's understanding as we manage this situation.

"River users are advised to adjust their activities, pumps and moorings to accommodate the change in weir pool levels. At this stage the Wentworth weir pool is expected to start dropping by up to 30cm over two weeks from about 10 April and the Euston weir pool is expected to drop by 20 to 30cm below full supply level from around 13 April.

"The need for active water quality management is the result of flows released from the Menindee Lakes mixing with highly saline and nutrient rich pools that have sat for many months behind block banks along the lower Darling River.

"Salinity levels in the Murray as a result of Darling inflows are expected to peak at more than 1000 EC units, before dropping back to 100 EC after approximately one week.

"The good news is that behind the head of the flow, the water coming through the Darling is high quality. This will bring a tremendous reprieve to everyone and everything that has coped for so long with adverse conditions in the lower Darling."

Up to date information about the changing salinity levels along the river can be found for each lock on the MDBA website at: livedata.mdba.gov.au

Boat owners are reminded that they are responsible for the safety of their vessel at all times. In response to COVID-19, commercial houseboating and use of public parks at this time is prohibited.

To stay up to date with conditions on the river, subscribe to the MDBA's River Murray weekly report.

ENDS

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Journalists can contact the MDBA media team on 02 6279 0141 or reach us at media@mdba.gov.au. We are a small media team and after-hours and over weekends this inbox isn’t monitored so please call us instead on 0407 054 234.

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