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Chief Executive update – December 2021

A message from Andrew Reynolds, Acting Chief Executive.

Andrew Reynolds

Acting Chief Executive, MDBA

Andrew is the Acting Chief Executive of the Murray–Darling Basin Authority. He has more than 27 years of experience in the water industry at the Commonwealth and state level, managing major water supply infrastructure, and is the immediate past chairman of the Australian National Committee on Large Dams.

Published: 16 December 2021

As we approach the end of the year, it is customary to reflect on achievements and challenges, and to look to the opportunities presented by the year ahead. It has been a big year for Murray–Darling Basin communities and governments.

Retiring CE Phillip Glyde and his longstanding EA, Rhonda Wolens at Phillip's farewell.

Earlier this month (December) we announced the retirement of our Chief Executive of 6 years, Phillip Glyde. Phillip has contributed a great deal to the MDBA and the challenge of water reform and will be missed. I would like to thank him for his contribution and wish him all the best in his retirement. 

Pictured to the left is Rhonda Wolens and Phillip. Rhonda is an Executive Assistant who has worked with Phillip across several organisations for 20 years. Along with many others, Phillip paid particular tribute to their fantastic working relationship at his farewell function.

It’s hard to believe that only 18 months ago we were staring down widespread drought. Now many dams are full and as of 8 December 2021 Basin water storages were sitting at 94% capacity. This is a significant shift from 2 years ago when Basin storages were sitting at just 32% capacity.

Although the increase in water in storage has been welcomed it has come with some devastating consequences. Flooding has impacted many Basin regions, and river operators across the Basin continue to work to manage ongoing flooding.

The MDBA is working to balance the priority of filling Hume Dam with mitigating the risk of flooding downstream. As of 15 December 2021, Hume Dam was at 98% capacity. Our river operators remain in close contact with the Bureau of Meteorology to review rainfall and inflow forecasts and consider how much airspace is required.

Water being released from Hume Dam at sunset on 30 November 2021
Water being released from Hume Dam at sunset on 30 November 2021. Photo credit: Trevor Staats

With a La Niña event now officially declared, it is likely the Basin will continue to experience above-average rainfall during summer. As a result, the MDBA will continue to work closely with its partner agencies to monitor not only flooding but water quality threats.

During these times our regional staff and particularly the Regional Engagement Officers play a vital role in linking the MDBA to Basin communities. I was delighted when the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon Keith Pitt MP, announced that the Australian Government would be funding the expansion of our Regional Engagement Officer program. This will help ensure that we have an even stronger presence on the ground.

Finding ways to connect with Basin communities is vital for the work we are doing, and the MDBA has taken excellent strides in this area. Our regional community forums were launched in July 2021 and are providing Basin communities with a chance to learn more about water management, as well as strengthen the MDBA’s science and monitoring program. I look forward to these forums shaping our work into the future.

From all of us at the MDBA, we thank you for your ongoing interest and support over the last 12 months and we look forward to working together to support the Basin in 2022 and beyond.

Please remember to reach out to us at engagement@mdba.gov.au if you have any feedback or story ideas for our new look River Reach and newsroom.

We wish you a safe festive season.

Andrew Reynolds

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