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Conveyance losses and the River Murray system

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) released a comprehensive report in March 2019 into water losses in the River Murray system, between Hume Dam and the South Australian border.

Losses are accounted for in ‘conveyance water’, which is the volume of water used to carry water orders to customers. Losses happen when water evaporates, is used by plants or seeps into the ground.

Conveyance losses in the River Murray system vary from year to year, depending on demand for water and conditions including rainfall, soil condition, heat, wind and inflows from tributaries.

The MDBA runs the River Murray system as efficiently as possible, in line with rules agreed by New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Commonwealth. The MDBA aims to ensure the right amount of water is available at the right time so water can be delivered when and where it is needed for entitlement holders.

Under the Murray–Darling Basin Agreement, the MDBA is responsible for delivering water to entitlement holders on behalf of the states.

The states are responsible for determining the water allocations to entitlement holders, based on their own processes and assessments of future conditions. State-based allocation outlooks can change as conditions change and unfold.

South Australia sets aside water from its annual entitlement to meet conveyance losses in that state.


Update to River Murray System losses 2018–19 and 2019–20
River Murray System losses report – March 2019
Report Summary – Conveyance Losses in the River Murray System
Media release – 27 March 2019
MDBA statement on River Operations – 28 October 2019