Water Week

EWN Publishing

1000-year low-flow in Murray River: Murray-Darling Basin report for the week ending Wednesday, 12 September 2007:

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Murray-Darling Basin Commission general manager David Dreverman told a water summit inflow into the Murray last month was so low as to be classed as a one-in-1000-year. In a report published published 14 September, 2007 he detailed the very low level of the Murray System; weekly inflow of 53 GL for the River Murray system remains well below the average for this time of year of about 380 GL.Rainfall and inflows: Dreverman reported during the past week light rain fell across the north, east and south of the Murray-Darling Basin. The Victorian Alpine region received higher falls, with Mt Buller receiving 74 mm and Mt Buffalo 51 mm. This is the best rainfall recorded in the upper catchments since early August. The rain, however, generated only a small but welcome response in river flows. For example, at Rocky Point on the Ovens River the river flow increased from 700 ML/day to 1700 ML/day but is already receding. The weekly inflow of 53 GL for the River Murray system remains well below the average for this time of year of about 380 GL. Storage volumes in Dartmouth Reservoir (currently at 650 GL and 17 per cent capacity) and Hume Reservoir (810 GL and 27 per cent capacity) continue to slowly rise.

River Operations: For the past few months, critical water requirements along the River Murray have largely been supplied by the Kiewa River and Ovens River, which has allowed the water stored in Hume and Dartmouth Reservoirs to be conserved for use later in the season.

Hume Dam: The release from Hume Dam has been maintained at about 400 ML/day which is below the normal minimum for winter. However, as the demand for water increases, and the flows in the Ovens and Kiewa Rivers recede, release from Hume Dam will have to be increased. Without further rain, this is expected to occur in the next one or two weeks. During early September Lake Mulwala has been steadily lowered to supplement ows downstream, and is currently at 124.0 m AHD (90 cm below Full Supply Level). If the weather remains dry, the drawdown is likely to continue and the level might fall as low as 123.6 m AHD.

River Murray low: Flow along the mid reaches of the River Murray is expected to remain low for the next few weeks unless there is signicant rain. River pumpers and boat operators, are advised to check water levels, seek advice from the appropriate State authority and make any necessary adjustments to their activities.

Torrumbarry Weir
: The water level at Torrumbarry Weir remains close to Full Supply Level but might be lowered by up to 40 cm if downstream water requirements increase over the next few weeks. To reduce evaporation losses, Euston Weir is currently 23 cm below Full Supply Level, and further lowering is expected in early October. Mildura and Wentworth Weirs are expected to remain within their normal operating range over the next few weeks. Other water saving measures might include the future drawdown of Weirs 8 and 9, and if this occurs, further details would be issued beforehand.

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