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High flows in the Murray

Releases from Hume Dam have been been changed based on conditions in the upper Murray catchment and downstream water needs.
Published: 11 August 2021

Less rainfall than predicted has stopped pre-releases of water from Hume Dam that were being made to maintain airspace. With the Hume recently at 90% capacity the Murray–Darling Basin Authority released close to 19 GL from 7–15 August. These pre-releases are designed to help maintain storage capacity to accommodate inflows that were expected from forecast rain.

In parallel, the Environmental Water Holders ordered water, from 12 August, to meet flow targets downstream of Yarrawonga Weir. These releases are currently around 9 GL a day.

It is expected this release of environmental water will continue over the next week. It will support flows into the wetlands and creeks of Barmah-Millewa Forest, benefiting native vegetation and fish.

One of the largest water storages in the southern Murray–Darling Basin, the Hume Dam has been slowly filling in recent weeks thanks to good rainfall producing flows into the River Murray.

Hume Dam’s primary purpose is water security – it plays a crucial role in managing flows and securing water along the Murray, including to Adelaide. The MDBA needs to fill Hume Dam before irrigation demands start to exceed inflows, and the level starts to drop. This ensures water allocations are maximised.

Many other southern Basin water storages are also exceeding 80% capacity.

The Bureau of Meteorology is responsible for issuing flood warnings to the public. Check www.bom.gov.au/australia/warnings for up-to-date flood warnings in your area.

Read more about how dams are managed to reduce the impact of flooding.

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