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Published: 01 June 2022

A massive turnaround in conditions has seen the volume of water in government-owned dams in the Murray–Darling Basin 2.5x higher than at the same time two years ago.

The national River reflections water conference was told of the stark comparison where water storages were just 36 per cent full in May 2020 compared with 89 per cent today.

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s Mildura Regional Manager and Acting Executive Director River Management Andrew Kremor said the most dramatic turnaround was in the northern Basin, particularly in Queensland, which saw water in dams leap from a dire 19 per cent to 97 per cent full in the past 24 months.

"Heavy rain in the north beyond the normal wet season has meant water has run off the already saturated catchments," Dr Kremor said.

"This has certainly brought renewed optimism to many in the agriculture sector even though it’s meant some challenges with flooding, infrastructure impairment and difficulties with harvest, planting and crop damage.

"One important thing to note is that the much-wetter-than-average conditions are not consistent across the whole Basin, with rain in the Upper Murray in March to April returning to be around average after being high in the 12 months or so prior.

"However, Upper Murray inflows have remained well above average with averagely-wet catchments.

"Dartmouth Dam inflows back in January were the highest on record.

"Across the whole Murray River system, active storage levels remain well above the long-term average and are likely to remain very high into the coming spring.”

Dr Kremor said the Bureau of Meteorology’s outlook was for above-average rainfall across the Murray–Darling Basin from now until August.

"Most climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate a neutral Indian Ocean Dipole could develop this winter which favours higher rainfall for the Basin in winter-spring,” he said.

"This means we are in the unusual position of commencing airspace management, or pre-releases, at Hume Dam because it is still at high storage levels coming into winter, with more rain and high inflows likely.

"Further along the Murray, Lake Victoria is being operated in accordance with the agreed strategy and flows to South Australia will remain unregulated into the new water year."

Dr Kremor said from late last week WaterNSW had moved to flood operations at Menindee Lakes with a marked rise in the volume of water expected to reach the lakes over the coming months.

The River reflections annual water conference is taking place in Mildura, Victoria on Wednesday, 1 June and Thursday, 2 June 2022.

River reflections provides the space and time for the diverse communities and industries of the Murray–Darling Basin to come together. It is an opportunity to share innovations in water management, knowledge and lessons learned while celebrating achievements.

 

Speaker background

Andrew Kremor

Mildura Regional Manager and Acting Executive Director, River Management, Murray–Darling Basin Authority

The River Management team is responsible for operating the Murray River system on behalf of the states and under the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement. Prior to his current Acting Executive Director role, Andrew was responsible for the MDBA Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) Implementation Team, which coordinates the MDBA support required to enable delivery of the SDLAM program by the Basin states. He also held responsibility for the Enhanced Environmental Watering and Hydrometrics Networks and Northern Remote Sensing projects. 

Prior to joining the MDBA, Andrew held executive management roles in corporate governance, project delivery, communications and operations with private and public sector businesses including Lower Murray Water, Santos, Alinta Energy, Energex, SA Power Networks and Ernst & Young.

Andrew grew up on a local grape farm in Sunraysia and is currently a Board Director for a local not-for-profit human services provider, Mallee Family Care.

ENDS

More information: Water in storages | Murray-Darling Basin Authority (mdba.gov.au)

Mildura Regional Manager and Acting Executive Director River Management, Andrew Kremor, presents on Basin storage levels at the River Reflections conference 2022.
 
Mildura Regional Manager and Acting Executive Director River Management, Andrew Kremor, presents on Basin storage levels at the River Reflections conference 2022.

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