River Murray operations 7-14 June 2017

16 June 2017

Welcome to our summary report on River Murray operations for the week ending 14 June 2017.

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

Rainfall and inflows

At the start of the week a low pressure system developed off the coast of New South Wales and moved slowly northeast.  A coastal trough, associated with this low pressure system, lingered along the central and north coast in New South Wales for most of the week and brought moderate rainfall to northeastern areas of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Towards the end of the week, an inland trough developed over northwestern New South Wales, producing some rainfall in the Upper Western region. Little to no rainfall was recorded in Northern Victoria, Central New South Wales or South Australia for the week.

Total in Storage

Total MDBA storage increased by 48 GL this week, with the active storage now 5,576 GL (65% capacity).

River operations

  • At Dartmouth Reservoir, the storage volume decreased by 1GL to 3,009 GL (78% capacity). Mostly due to continuing operational releases, measured at Colemans, of 200ML/day.  
  • At Hume Reservoir, the storage volume increased by 36 GL to 2,039 GL (68% capacity). Inflows this week have averaged around 8,000 ML/day. The majority of these inflows are due to higher releases downstream of Khancoban Pondage from the Snowy Hydro Scheme for the purposes of electricity generation. Releases from Hume Reservoir were 2,500 ML/day over the weekend before decreasing to the current rate of 1,500 ML/day. These releases remain above the normal minimum of 600 ML/day as additional water is delivered on behalf of environmental water holders to maintain higher base flows in the Murray for the benefit of native fish.
  • At Lake Mulwala, the pool level is currently 124.76 m AHD. The pool is expected to remain steady over the coming week. The release downstream of Yarrawonga Weir has decreased to around 3,500 ML/day and will remain at this rate for about a week to assist with hydrometric work to be undertaken on the Edward River at Moulamein later in the month.  The flow will increase early next week to 4,000 ML/day and vary between 4,200 ML/day and 3,800 ML/day in the coming weeks.
  • Inflows to the Edward-Wakool system decreased over the past week in response to lower flows in the Murray.  Flows through the Edward River and Gulpa Creek offtakes are currently around 500 ML/day and 170 ML/day respectively. With the offtake gates currently open, inflows to the Edward-Wakool system can be expected to fluctuate over winter in response to the changes in river levels downstream of Yarrawonga Weir. Flow downstream of Stevens Weir increased to over 800 ML/day this week before decreasing to the current flow of 380 ML/day. The weir pool is currently around 3.9 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 the WaterNSW website for more information.
  • On the Goulburn River, the flow at McCoys Bridge is currently 950 ML/day, which is above the minimum flow rate (350 ML/day) to provide flows for the environment. An environmental flow pulse in the Goulburn River is planned to commence over the coming week. Water for the increased flow is due to be released from Goulburn Weir from June 20, peaking at about 9,500 ML/day (4.30m) at Murchison on June 30. More information can be found on the Goulburn Broken CMA website. On the Campaspe River, the flow at Rochester is around 40 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. In the coming weeks, as part of the weir pool variability program, the pool level will continue to be varied, with the level falling as much as 50 cm below FSL. Visit the MDBA website for more information. Diversions to National Channel continued at around 420 ML/day to supply higher flows along Gunbower Creek for the benefit of native fish. Release downstream of Torrumbarry Weir has decreased slightly and is currently 3,300 ML/day.
  • Inflow from the Murrumbidgee River averaged 600 ML/day this week and is currently around 530 ML/day. Planning is currently underway to deliver a ‘river fresh’ along the Murrumbidgee River and Yanco Creek systems starting in early July. A flow rate of around 20,000 ML/day at Wagga Wagga is planned to improve the health of wetlands along the mid-Murrumbidgee River and to deliver instream benefits throughout the system. This event would deliver significant inflows, at within-channel rates, to the Murray later in July and into August. Further environmental benefits will accrue as the flows are passed down the Murray to South Australia.
  • At Euston Weir, the pool level has remained around the FSL (47.60 m AHD). The pool level is expected to be varied over the coming weeks, with the level planned to decrease as much as 40 cm below FSL. The release downstream of the weir has decreased slightly this week to and is currently around 5,300 ML/day.
  • Downstream of Euston at Hattah Lakes, planning is underway to deliver water to refill the lakes and wetlands commencing in early July. This aims to help build upon the ecological outcomes resulting from the natural flooding that occurred in 2016, and continue to improve the ecological health of this lake system.
  • On the Darling River, the total storage volume in the Menindee Lakes decreased by 1 GL this week and is currently 776 GL (45% capacity). Inflows to the lakes have increased slightly this week, with the daily flow, measured at Wilcannia, just under 600 ML/day. Releases from Menindee Lakes to the lower Darling River at Weir 32 are continuing around 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 for the benefit of native fish.  The delivery of water to the Great Darling Anabranch will cease later in June.
  • At the junction of the Darling and Murray rivers at Wentworth flow has reduced to around 5,700 ML/day. Downstream of the weir, inflows from the Great Darling Anabranch are continuing to slowly recede and are currently around 600 ML/day.
  • At Locks 9, 8 and 7, the pool levels are currently 9, 12 and 19 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 is rising and is currently 426 GL (63% capacity). Over the coming months MDBA will manage the filling of Lake Victoria so that the storage volume peaks as late in the year as possible. This strategy aims to encourage the growth of foreshore vegetation and helps protect against erosion impacts on aboriginal cultural heritage, whilst maximising the storage available to help supply flow to South Australia during next summer and autumn.
  • Flow to South Australia has remained steady at 4,000 ML/day this week, the flow will increase to around 7,000 ML/day early next week following completion of ‘run of river’ salinity monitoring being undertaken from the SA border to the Lower Lakes. The flow downstream at Lock 1 is currently 3,460 ML/day.
  • At the Lower Lakes, the 5-day average water level in Lake Alexandrina remained steady at 0.68 m AHD. Releases through the barrages averaged around 2,000 ML/day this week via gates at Goolwa and Tauwitchere barrages.

DEWNR boat
Photo: Scott Jenke SA Water
Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) boat undertaking ‘run of river’ salinity monitoring coming into Lock 5.

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