River Murray operations 28 June to 5 July 2017

7 July 2017

Welcome to our summary report on River Murray operations for the week ending 5 July 2017.

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

Rainfall and inflows

There was some very much needed rain this week over the south-east catchments of the Murray-Darling Basin following quite a dry spell through June. Rain also fell along the ranges of northern NSW with lighter falls elsewhere. Snow fell over alpine areas towards the end of the week.

June 2017 Summary

June was a very dry month for the Murray-Darling Basin with large areas of northern Victoria and southern New South Wales experiencing rainfall that was the lowest on record.

Total in storage

MDBA total storage rose by 40 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,676 GL or 69% capacity.

River operations

  • At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume increased by 3 GL to 3,019 GL (78% capacity).
  • At Hume Reservoir, the storage increased by 38 GL to 2,138 GL (71% capacity).
  • At Yarrawonga Weir, the pool level has risen this week to 124.78 mAHD. Releases from the weir averaged around 4,040 ML/day this week to meet winter environmental flow targets in the Murray.
  • On the Edward River system, the gates at Edward and Gulpa Offtakes remain open. Flows through the Edward and Gulpa offtakes have remained low, averaging 570 ML/day and 180 ML/day respectively. Flow downstream of Stevens Weir has averaged 380 ML/day this week.
  • On the Goulburn River, the flow at McCoy’s bridge has increased to 8,550 ML/day, in response to environmental flows released from Goulburn Weir. Flow at McCoy’s bridge is expected to begin to recede over coming days as environmental releases are reduced. The environmental flows 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 mAHD, this is 35 cm below the full supply level (FSL), as part of the weir pool variability program. Raising of the weir will commence next week to ensure FSL is reached prior to the start of the irrigation season.
  • Inflow from the Murrumbidgee River averaged 1,050 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 47.19 mAHD, 41 cm below FSL. The pool level is expected to be varied over the coming weeks, also as part of the weir pool variability program. The release downstream of Euston weir has increased and is currently around 6,080 ML/day. Further increases are expected over the next week as the Goulburn environmental flows move down the system.

  • Downstream of Euston at Hattah Lakes, pumping of environmental water into the lakes has commenced. 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.

Hattah Lakes
Photo: Goulburn-Murray Water
Hattah Lakes pump station delivering water to the lakes.
  • On the Darling River, the total storage volume in the Menindee Lakes increased by 1 GL this week and is currently 770 GL (44% capacity).

  • At the junction of the Darling and Murray rivers at Wentworth, flow has remained steady at 5,440 ML/day. Downstream of the weir, inflows from the Great Darling Anabranch have reduced to less than 100 ML/day.

  • At Locks 9, 8 and 7, the pool levels are currently 4, 96 and 45 cm below FSL respectively. Pool levels will continue to be varied over the coming weeks. Lock 7 will be raised to 21.9 mAHD (20 cm below full supply level) this week to assist in the upstream passage of vessels attending the Wentworth rally. 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 by 3 GL this week and is currently 423 GL (62% 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 averaged 5,900 ML/day this week. Flows are likely to increase to around 6,500 ML/day this coming weekend.

  • At the Lower Lakes, the 5-day average water level in Lake Alexandrina remained steady at 0.70 mAHD. Releases through the barrages averaged around 4,300 ML/day this week. Barrage operations in recent weeks have been made more difficult due to higher tides, ocean swells and reverse flow conditions that typically become more frequent as winter progresses.  However, a window of optimal conditions allowed a flow pulse of over 13,000 ML/day to be released in late June. 


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