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Published: 12 February 2020   •   Media release

Rainfall recorded across most of the Murray–Darling Basin in the past fortnight has brought hope and a fresh outlook after months of extreme weather.

The MDBA Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds, said although the rain in the Basin was highly variable from east to west, and the heaviest falls were outside the Basin, it provided a valuable morale boost for some rural and regional communities and modest inflows for some dams.

"After months of heatwaves, bushfires and dust storms, there has finally been widespread rainfall which has resulted in modest rises in some of the Basin's water storages," Mr Reynolds said.

"The MDBA's latest fortnightly drought update shows the wet weather brought slightly cooler temperatures to most of the Basin, however a high number of alerts for blue-green algae remain.  

"This welcome rain has been hit and miss and isn't anywhere near enough to break the drought but it's renewed flows in many rivers in the northern Basin."

In the week ending 11 February 2020, the Condamine River catchment recorded the highest falls—close to 200 mm in the upper reaches around Toowoomba. This resulted in moderate flood warnings for the Condamine, Balonne, Moonie, Weir and Macintyre Rivers in Queensland. A minor flood warning was issued for the Paroo River in the far west.

In NSW, water is passing through large sections of the Gwydir, Namoi, Castlereagh and Macquarie catchments.

"While some northern rivers have begun to flow again, it's still too early to say whether all the storages will receive water or flows will be enough to connect the rivers.

"In the week ending 11 February 2020, rainfall in the south has been moderate, with most areas recording between 5 and 30mm. The Canberra region topped 100mm, assisting efforts to bring several fires under control.

"The River Murray catchments received less rain than further north but we are starting to see some stream flows following the rain. However, given the dry state of the catchments there's been limited runoff so far.

"We really need to see a long period of above-average rainfall to break this drought," Mr Reynolds said.

The drought update is available on the MDBA website at mdba.gov.au/droughtupdate

ENDS

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