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Water losses in the River Murray

  • Losses occur when water evaporates, is used by plants, or seeps into the ground. The Basin has an extremely high evaporation rate.

  • Losses are factored into water orders through ‘conveyance’— the water needed to deliver a water order.

  • Conveyance losses vary from year to year, depending on demand for water and conditions including rainfall, soil condition, heat, wind and inflows from tributaries.

  • Low inflows and hot conditions lead to higher than average losses

The MDBA runs the River Murray 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.

The main causes of losses in the River Murray system are evaporation rates, seepage rates, low rain and hot weather. The MDBA runs the rivers as efficiently as possible to minimise losses, making decisions on when to move water based on how to best avoid evaporation and spills.

Updated: 09 Dec 2019