River Murray operations 21-28 June 2017

30 June 2017

Welcome to our summary report on River Murray operations for the week ending 28 June 2017.

You can find the full weekly report under the River Murray system section of our website.

Rainfall and inflows

Very little rainfall was recorded across the Murray-Darling Basin this week as high pressure systems persisted over southeast Australia, see map 1. Dry conditions meant stream flows along upper Murray tributaries remained low this week. The flow in the Mitta Mitta River at Hinnomunjie bridge averaged around 275 ML/day while the flow at Biggara upstream of Hume averaged around 360 ML/day. The Kiewa River at Bandiana averaged 460 ML/day. The Ovens River, measured at Rocky Point, averaged around 450 ML/day this week.

Total in Storage

MDBA total storage rose by 21 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,637 GL or 68%.

River operations

  • At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume increased by 2 GL to 3,016 GL (78% capacity). The release, measured at Colemans gauge, continued at the minimum flow rate of 200 ML/day. 
  • At Hume Reservoir, the storage increased by 23 GL to 2,100 GL (70% capacity). The increases to Hume storage have been driven by the consistent high releases from the Snowy Hydro Scheme. 
  • At Yarrawonga Weir, the pool level has remained steady and is currently 124.72 mAHD. Releases from the weir averaged around 4,180 ML/day this week to meet winter environmental flow targets in the Murray. Flows will continue to vary between 3,800 ML/day and 4,200 Ml/day over the coming week.
  • On the 27 June 2017, the MDBA advised trading of water from above the Barmah Choke to below the choke will be restricted in the 2017–18 water year as per normal operations. This restriction also applied in 2016-17. More information can be found on the MDBA website.  
  • On the Edward River system, the gates at Edward and Gulpa Offtakes remain open. Flows through the Edward and Gulpa offtakes have stayed low, at around 600 ML/day and 190 ML/day respectively in response to the low releases downstream of Yarrawonga.  Flow downstream of Stevens Weir has remained around 340 ML/day for most of the week. The weir pool is around 4.0 m (local gauge) and will vary between 3.8 m and 4.0 m over winter to provide connectivity for fish in the Colligen and Yallakool Creeks and downstream in the Wakool River. Visit WaterNSW for more information.
  • On the Goulburn River, the flow at McCoys Bridge is currently 5,410 ML/day, flows will continue to increase steadily as the planned environmental flow pulse is released from Goulburn Weir. The flow at McCoys bridge is expected to peak at just over 9,000 ML/day in early July. Releases in the Goulburn River have been planned by the Goulburn Broken CMA. More information can be found on the GMW factsheet and the Goulburn Broken CMA website.
  • On the Campaspe River, there is a small environmental flow passing Rochester at a rate of around 200 ML/day.
  • At Torrumbarry, the weir pool level has remained at 85.7 m AHD, or 35 cm below the full supply level (FSL) this week as part of the weir pool variability program. Torrumbarry Weir will begin to be raised in mid-July in order to reach full supply level prior to the beginning of the irrigation season. Visit the MDBA website for more information. 
  • Inflow from the Murrumbidgee River averaged 710 ML/day this week. Environmental agencies are planning to deliver a ‘river fresh’ along the Murrumbidgee River and Yanco Creek systems starting in late July.
  • At Euston Weir, the pool level is currently 47.6 m AHD, 20 cm below FSL. The pool level is expected to be varied over the coming weeks, also as part of the weir pool variability program, with the level planned to decrease as much as 40 cm below FSL. The release downstream of the weir has been steady this week and is currently around 5,110 ML/day. An increase in flow as a result of the Goulburn pulse is expected in the coming days. Flows will likely peak at Euston around mid-July.

Euston Weir
Photo: William Lugg, MDBA.
A crane manoeuvring stop logs at Euston Weir.
  • Downstream of Euston at Hattah Lakes, pumping of environmental water into the lakes will begin on the 3rd of July. Environmental water will build upon the ecological outcomes resulting from the natural flooding that occurred in 2016, and continue to improve the ecological health of this wetland system.
  • On the Darling River, the total storage volume in the Menindee Lakes decreased by 2 GL this week and is currently 769 GL (44% capacity). Releases from Menindee Lakes to the lower Darling River at Weir 32 have continued at 400 ML/day. This is above the normal minimum of 200 ML/day at this time of year. The additional water is being released on behalf of environmental water holders to benefit native fish in the lower Darling River. Releases from Cawndilla outlet to the Great Darling Anabranch have continued at 100 ML/day this week also for the benefit of native fish.  The delivery of water to the Great Darling Anabranch will likely cease in the coming days.
  • At the junction of the Darling and Murray rivers at Wentworth, flow has remained steady at 5,550 ML/day. Downstream of the weir, inflows from the Great Darling Anabranch continue at around 200 ML/day.
  • At Locks 9, 8 and 7, the pool levels are currently 5, 64 and 52 cm below FSL respectively. Pool levels are expected to be varied over the coming weeks. Weir pool variability helps to restore a more natural wetting and drying cycle to riverbanks and adjacent wetlands within the influence of the weir pool.
  • At Lake Victoria, the storage volume has decreased this week and is currently 426 GL (63% capacity). Over the coming months MDBA will manage the filling of Lake Victoria in line with the Lake Victoria Operating Strategy. The strategy aims to maximise water security whilst minimising the impact on vegetation and aboriginal cultural heritage sites around the lake.
  • Flow to South Australia is currently 6,700 ML/day. This will reduce to 5,600 ML/day at the start of July.
  • At the Lower Lakes, the 5-day average water level in Lake Alexandrina remained steady at 0.70 m AHD. Releases through the barrages averaged around 1,300 ML/day this week.

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