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The Hume Dam – close to capacity

With high rainfall in the upper Murray River catchment over winter, the Hume Dam has been filling fast. Run-off into the dam went from the lowest 10% on record in May to the highest 10% in July.

In all likelihood the dam will fill, so we have started releasing water at low rates to make room for incoming flows and rainfall.

How you can prepare

As many people are aware, there is already water moving through the region from rainfall and the tributaries feeding the Murray, such as the Kiewa River.

If you are on the Murray River downstream of the Hume Dam you might need to adjust your activities and move stock, pumps, boat moorings and other equipment as river levels rise. It might also affect your access to parts of the floodplain.

People around Albury, Wodonga, Corowa and other towns, communities and farming areas could be most affected.

Significant rainfall could lead to flooding. Advice on preparing for a flood is available on the Victorian SES or NSW SES FloodSafe websites.

It’s also recommended that you register to receive timely messages about changes to river flows from WaterNSW whether you’re in NSW or Victoria.

Where to get local info

It’s important in times of flood to look to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), the agency responsible for issuing flood warnings.

The BoM issues flood watch and flood warnings when rivers are expected to rise above the river bank.

Check out their current warnings for floods and other weather events in the NSW and Victorian Murray region.

In an emergency

Call 132 500 for emergency help during a flood in NSW or Victoria.

If required, an evacuation message would come from the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) or Victoria Police.

MDBA’s management of the Hume Dam

We monitor in-flows and water movement through the river system every day. This helps us manage releases of water from the reservoirs in the River Murray System and direct the state dam operators how much water to send downstream and when to do it.

Three priorities guide the way we manage Hume Dam, in the following order:

  1. protect the dam itself to make sure it is safe
  2. maximise water storage
  3. mitigate flood impacts and provide environmental benefit.

During times of plentiful water we use forecasts to estimate the rain that is coming, and the current and potential inflows. This also helps us gauge whether it is possible to release water from the dam over a number of days before it fills, to better manage any flooding.

Check our website if you would like more detailed information about flood management for the Hume Dam.

Lake Hume
The Hume Dam wall holds back water from the upper Murray catchment. Photo by Michael Bell.



Homepage Image: 
Lake Hume
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Grid View Image: 
Lake Hume
Published on: 
Monday, August 29, 2016


Management of a blessing and a curse all in one.Won't please everyone, but keep up the good work.

Can you please forecast the likely maximum river flow & level at Renmark during the remainder of 2016?

Hi David, you can check out live river data for Lock 5 at Renmark here: and download historical data. It's pretty hard to forecast flows, it’s dependent on a number of things, including the amount of rainfall.

will the dam spill over later this week with the forecast rainfall late in the week

Hi Phil, Hume Dam is now at 97% full, and further rain is forecast for Friday. We've been releasing more water from the Hume Dam over the past week to make room for inflows. Conditions can change quickly, and the BoM is the best place to get the most current information on stream levels, flood watches and warnings. Find out more at  

I think the government should stop because it is very bad for the river and the animals that live in it and drink from it.

Hi Tyreece, Hume Dam is only able to hold so much and high flow events at this time of the year are a natural occurrence – and one that floodplain ecosystems downstream rely on.

Hi Guys can you explain why you are only currently releasing 20ML/day from Torrumbarry Weir at the moment when it is plainly obvious that with the water coming from Yarrawonga already and the rainfall on friday we will get smashed by water from the Goulburn and Yarrawonga further with basically unregulated flow from the Ovens and Kiewa? Why aren't you pre-emting the situation and releasing more water immediately to make room for what is coming?

Hi Andrew, Torrumbarry Weir, like most of the weirs down the river, essentially pass high river flows straight through. Releases are currently about 21,000 ML/day and as the higher flows come from upstream they will be passed down river.

Furthermore the forecast rainfall for Friday is that widespread and significant that it will have a major impact on both the Goulburn and Campaspe Rivers. As such with the water already coming from Yarrawonga and any potential spill from the Hume there will be a major impact on Echuca Moama with the converged inflows of both the Goulburn and Campaspe.

For how long is it anticipated for the Hume Dam to be releasing water at these low rates? How long does it take for water to reach Torrumbarry?

Hi Steve – it all depends on what future rain and inflows do. There is more rain forecast for Friday so we could see these higher releases for a while yet. River flow at Torrumbarry also depends on what comes in from tributaries like the Ovens and Goulburn Rivers. It looks like you could expect flows to rise for the next couple of weeks at least.

Hi , can you explain to me why so little water was being released in the past 3 weeks and why at the moment at Corowa we are having minor flooding especially considering the rain forecast ,time of year( snow melt ). I understand to you that water is money however considering the damage that is being done to the banks of our great river, I would like to know who is responsible and who bears the cost of repairing the damage to the river banks ?

Hi Annette, we knew that it was likely the dam would fill and from late July we have been advising of an increased flood risk and recommending that downstream communities prepare. Because Hume Dam’s primary role is for water conservation we are required by the Australian, Victorian, NSW and SA governments to make very sure the storage is filled, to be prepared for future drier times. We began releases from the Dam on 29 August when we could guarantee its filling. Up to this point, it was not yet assured that the dam would fill – even allowing for the BoM’s outlooks and snowmelt. The contribution of spring snow melt to the basin is small. Only about 7% of the catchment upstream of Hume Dam lies above the winter snow line. Snow melt is estimated to provide less than 5% of the River Murray system’s total inflow.

Hi , can you explain to me why we at Corowa are having flooding when in the past three weeks the river was allowed to run very very low , especially knowing the rainfall forecast and season ?

it would be good for the people responsible for monitoring the level of the Hume weir, to go to areas like Corowa and see the financial and emotional devastation caused by poor management. Blind Freddie could have seen that you don't let that dam fill to 97% in August while the river level at Corowa is 1.4 metres. Now it's nearing 7.5! Thanks for helping to ruin livelihoods.

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