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Chief Executive update – March 2022

With COVID-19 travel restrictions continuing to ease, Andrew Reynolds, A/g Chief Executive is in southern Queensland this week with our Authority Chair Sir Angus Houston. The pair are hearing directly from northern Basin stakeholders about water management in the Condamine–Balonne and Border Rivers catchments.

Andrew Reynolds

Executive Director, River Management

Andrew is the Executive Director of River Management. 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. Andrew was the Acting Chief Executive of the Murray–Darling Basin Authority between September 2021 and June 2022.

Published: 17 March 2022

After many months, we have finally returned to face-to-face engagement with Murray–Darling Basin stakeholders and communities. This week I am delighted to be out with our Authority Chair, Sir Angus Houston for a Queensland listening tour, the seventh he has completed since taking on the role in August 2020. It is wonderful to visit the northern Basin communities of Goondiwindi, Dirranbandi and St George and meet with our stakeholders. 

Photo of four men standing in a field of cotton. Names provided in image caption below.
Sam Coulton (Morella Ag), Sir Angus Houston, Andrew Reynolds (acting MDBA Chief Executive) and Michael Murray (Cotton Australia general manager) at bumper cotton crop at Morella, Boggabilla.

Sir Angus and I plan to get out and about a lot more as part of his ongoing listening tour. I hope that we will be able to return to some areas that Sir Angus has visited in the past and some places he did not get the chance to explore in 2021. 

Meanwhile, a lot is happening in water, both within the Murray–Darling Basin and elsewhere. Sadly, parts of New South Wales and Queensland have been impacted by extremely damaging flooding following record high rainfall. Our thoughts are with those affected, including communities still waiting for water to subside and those undertaking the mammoth clean-up and recovery effort.  

The recent flooding has been mostly contained to the east of the ranges and has not greatly impacted the Murray–Darling Basin. Despite this, we are still seeing a lot of water in the Basin from the wetter than usual conditions we have been experiencing. Water storages remain high and as of 2 March 2022 were sitting at 92%, an unusual position to be in at the end of summer. This is a significant improvement from this time last year when they were sitting at just 50%. 

While the wetter conditions brought by the current La Niña pattern pass their peak, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is still predicting March to May rainfall will be above median for many parts of the Basin. 

With current high storage levels in both Dartmouth Dam and Hume Dams, and a chance of above median rainfall, there is a possibility the MDBA will need to make airspace releases from these storages in winter and spring. Our river operators will continue to work closely with floodplain landholders and communities to ensure there is clear and transparent information provided about how we will be managing storages.  

For those looking for more information about water storages and conditions across the Basin, I encourage you to look at the Murray–Darling Basin Water Information Portal (MD WIP). The MD WIP has recently been updated, allowing users to search by town, river, catchment, location and water storage. The BoM is seeking feedback on the portal, so please provide your insights via the MD WIP website so that this valuable tool can continue to be improved. 

As always, we are working to keep our stakeholders informed about current Basin conditions. We recently welcomed back our MDBA webinar series, which aims to provide water management information to communities and industries across the Murray–Darling Basin, while focusing on different aspects of river operations. All our past webinars can be found here.  

Please feel free to contact us at engagement@mdba.gov.au if you require more information or have any stories you would like to see included in our Newsroom. We always appreciate your feedback. 

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