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October emergency: dry, hot Murray Darling: no irrigation water, maybe no town or stock water, either – crisis conditions extend, levels lower than 1957

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

MBD

Storages lowest since 1957: At September 30, the total volume of water stored in River Murray System storages was 2130 GL (23 per cent ), which is the lowest for this time of year since 1957, before the construction of Dartmouth Reservoir and Menindee Lakes storage, and the expansion of Hume Dam. At this time last year storage totalled 3350 GL. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in ACT, agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, Rainfall, River Murray, SA, Salinity, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Water wizards tell Ministers how to ensure enough Murray Darling water for critical needs in 2008-09

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

The Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning; Overview Report to First Ministers, September 2007 was a report in which the Senior Officials’ Group listed five principles to underpin measures (including the possibility of a reserve) to ensure there is enough water available to run the river and for critical needs in 2008-09. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Drought, Murray Darling Basin, River Murray, SA, Security, South Australia, Town Water, Victoria, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Increase for high security irrigators in the Murrumbidgee Valley as Snowy Jindabyne release arrives

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Department of Water and Energy, on 2 October 2007 advised High security licence holders within the Murrumbidgee Regulated Water Sharing Plan area were advised of an increase in available water determination (AWD) from 60 per cent to 75 per cent of entitlement.

Town water increased to 70 per cent: The AWD for Stock and Domestic licence holders had also increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of entitlement and town water supplies has been increased to 70 per cent. These improvements were due in part to additional water from the Snowy Mountains Scheme which can now be delivered into the Murrumbidgee, and in part to inflows into Burrinjuck Dam which have receded more slowly than anticipated.

End of monthly allocations of critical survival water: This increase triggered the end of monthly allocations of critical survival water for high security users, however there was currently still not enough water for an allocation to be made for general security users. High security licence holders may carry over up to 15 per cent of their unused entitlement into the 2008/09 season. Recent rain in the region is still well below average. All water users need to remain conservative with water use and encouraged to remain on level 3a water restrictions., Further information relating to the water availability in the Murrumbidgee Valley will be made on the 15th of each month via the Murrumbidgee Critical Water Communiques.
These communiques are available from the Departments website http://www.dnr.nsw.gov.au via Whats New on the homepage.

Posted in Allocations, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, River Murray, SA, South Australia, Town Water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Sunburnt country: 60 to 70 per cent chance of a dry October to December 2007 for South Eastern Australia

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

South Eastern Australia and Tasmania and the far southeastern coastal fringe of the mainland had a 30 to 40 per cent chance of exceeding the three-month median rainfall. This means that below-normal falls have a 60 to 70per cent chance of occurring. Over most remaining parts of the country the chances of accumulating at least average rain for the December quarter are between 50 and 60per cent. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Drought, Forecasts, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Rainfall, River Murray, SA, South Australia, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Blistering heat ahead for Southeastern Australia – October to December 2007

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Government forecast issued 25th September 2007 showed the outlook was for blistering heat across tthe Murray Darling Basin, with the highest heat for South Australia and Victoria. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Drought, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, River Murray, SA, South Australia, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Murray Darling Report 26 September: Failure of winter and spring rainfall

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The failure of winter and spring rainfall was a disaster for the Murray Darling Basin, after successive years of drought. Water to Adelaide was so salted as to be of little value, and over 300 towns had no water, or severe water restrictions. Flow was down to 800 ML/day to Adelaide. “Very high salinities of around 13 000 EC continue to be recorded in the Goolwa channel upstream of the Goolwa Barrage”. David Dreverman General Manager of Murray river systems, in the Report For The Week Ending Wednesday, 26 September 2007, published 28 September, 2007 he said “very little rain fell over the Basin this past week, with the highest falls being in South Australia.

River Murray continues decline: Along the Lower Murray there was 17 mm at Tailem Bend and 9 mm at Waikerie. Due to dry conditions in the catchment area, inflows to the River Murray System continue to gradually decline”.

River Operations: Release from Dartmouth remains steady at 200 ML/day and the storage volume has increased from 656 to 664 ML/day (17 per cent of capacity).

Snowy releases increase flows: Hume storage also continues to slowly rise primarily due to release from the Snowy Mountains Scheme via Murray 1 power station – and has increased from 844 to 857 GL (28.2 per cent of capacity)., Release from Hume reservoir has been increased to 2500 ML/day to target a flow of 4000 ML/day at Albury/Wodonga. This rise will meet increasing downstream needs and will allow a further small rise in the level of Lake Mulwala.

Lake Mulwala storage: Lake Mulwala has been raised from 123.7 to 123.8 m AHD over the past week and will reach about 124 m AHD by early October. It is expected that levels will remain at about this level over coming weeks but will be subject to changes in weather and demand conditions. Release from Lake Mulwala has been increased from 2600 to 3000 ML/day in order to boost declining river flows further downstream.

Torrumbarry Weir storage: Torrumbarry Weir pool is being used as a mid river storage and is currently being drawn upon to increase flows downstream until the higher flows from Lake Mulwala arrive next week. This has resulted in a temporary lowering of the weir pool from 86.05 to 85.9 m AHD. Euston Weir storage: Release from Euston Weir averaged 1840 ML/day this week but is expected to increase to around 2000 ML/day within the next few days as the higher flows from Torrumbarry Weir arrive.

Euston Weir pool cut from Murray: Beginning 1 October, the Euston Weir pool will be further lowered by around 3 – 5 cm/week in order to reduce evaporative losses along the river.

Lake Victoria is now closed: The inlet to Lake Victoria is now closed ensuring that adequate flow and weir pool levels are maintained in the River Murray at Locks 9, 8 and 7. Release from Lake Victoria has been increased from 1400 to 1600 ML/day and storage has fallen from 552 GL to 542 GL (80 per cent of capacity).

Flow to South Australia: Flow to South Australia averaged around 1900 ML/day and although the flow at Lock 1 temporarily increased to 1 500 ML/day it has since fallen back to 800 ML/day, Salinity rises at Morgan: Salinity levels at Morgan and Lock 1 have increased by about 50 EC this week and are currently 780 and 690 EC respectively. The level of the Lower Lakes has fallen from 0.25 to 0.18 m AHD since mid August with Milang Jetty showing an increase in salinity of around 350 EC to the current level of about 2350 EC.

Posted in Murray Darling Basin, River Murray, Salinity, South Australia, Storage, Town Water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Over 300 NSW, Victoria, NSW towns face water restriction and water-carting under Ministers Armageddon dust-bowl plan

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

The Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Report to First Ministers ;lists Town-by-town contingency planning as “A detailed list of towns potentially moving onto no outdoor use restrictions from 1 July 2007. All states confirm that town-by-town contingency planning frameworks are now in place and are evolving as new issues and situations arise. Public information on affected towns is being made available via State Government web sites”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Victoria, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

NSW, SA, Victoria towns and irrigators wait for Senior Officers October 2007 critical water plans

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

On 4 October Snowy Hydro reported that the NSW Department of Water and Energy was to “review” all dam releases. This wasbelieved to result from an unpublished Octiber decision of Senior Officials’ Group (SOG).The next report was due in October 2007 and “will be focused on the volume of a reserve for 2008-09, as well as the source of water and timing of a reserve for 2008-09”.

The September Recommendations:

The Senior Officials’ Group (SOG) recommends that First Ministers:
1. NOTE that the water supply situation in the southern Basin system is critical.
2. AGREE that contingency planning should continue.
3. NOTE that, given the current water situation, there is a growing likelihood that allocations will be insufficient to avoid significant production losses across most of the Murray System in horticulture and other water dependant agricultural sectors.
4. AGREE that governments will continue to work with industry associations and stakeholder groups to ensure information is available to help producers make business decisions.
5. AGREE that water authorities continue to provide realistic assessments to water users regarding forecast allocations and salinity levels in the system over the coming months, so that irrigators and other industries can make key management decisions.
6. NOTE that unregulated flows which occur in the southern Basin system while operating under the special water sharing arrangements agreed by First Ministers on 20 June 2007, will be managed as follows:

I. Each State may use up to one third of forecast unregulated flows (as declared by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in a ‘unregulated flow forecast determination’) to address its priority needs, including facilitation of water delivery for those purposes.

II. To the extent it is practicable, flows unable to be captured for these purposes will be directed to highest priority river recovery and environmental watering needs.

7. AGREE measures be taken in 2007-08 to ensure there is enough water available to run the river and for critical needs in 2008-09, as follows:

I. In managing issues around dry inflow planning, markets should be used to the maximum extent possible.

II. Arrangements (including the possibility of establishing a ‘collective’ reserve) should be established by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in 2007-08 to ensure there is sufficient water in 2008-09 to enable operation of the river and delivery of agreed flows (including 696 GL dilution flow to South Australia), as well as provisions to manage projected poor water quality (particularly salinity and algal blooms).

III. To assist South Australia to store additional reserves, South Australia should be permitted to store reserves in NSW and Victorian airspace in Murray System storages. (It is noted that South Australia is able to access some or all of the volume needed to meet critical requirements from volumes provided for dilution and loss purposes.) To assist the ACT, storage arrangements may need to be negotiated with NSW and Snowy Hydro Ltd.

IV. Operational decisions on the measures to be adopted, including the source, volume and timing of establishing a collective reserve should be made by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in September 2007, taking into account SOG recommendations.

V. Jurisdictions are encouraged to allow water to be carried over from 2007-08 to 2008-09, which would be available in storages from the beginning of the 2008-09 water year. South Australian carryover held in NSW and Victorian airspace in Murray System storages should have the same priority for delivery as NSW and Victorian carryover. Delivery of any carry-over will depend on having sufficient water available to meet transmission losses.

8. AGREE that contingency measures, initially agreed by First Ministers in response to the December 2006 Contingency Planning Report and implemented during 2007, should if necessary be implemented in a low water availability situation 2008-09. Further water sharing principles may be necessary to ensure critical water needs in each state in 2008-09, and will be proposed as required.

Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers September 2007. This is the third Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) Dry Inflow Overview Report to the Prime Minister, the Premiers of New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia, and the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The first and second Overview Reports and the June 2007 update on MDB inflows are available on the Department of the Environment and Water Resources’ web site (www.environment.gov.au).

Posted in Allocations, australia, Environmental Flows, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Flow to South Australia slow: September 2007, Lowest flows since 1968, downstream of Euston Weir, and no flow at all from from Kiewa and Ovens

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The pattern of flows to South Australia over the remainder of the season will be critical in managing river salinity in SA and for meeting increasing diversion requirements and losses said David Dreverman General Manager in the River Murray Report For The Week Ending Wednesday, 19 September 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, River Murray, SA, South Australia, Victoria, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Emergency conditions: NSW withholds river-flow to southern states; had it not, it “would not have had any water for any purpose at the start of the season”

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

River levels
The NSW Department of Water and Energy said things were bad, very bad and only “critical water” was available; and there was the risk that event that supplied could fall so low essential services could not be provided. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Murray Darling Armageddon: Ministers agree to drain and block 44 wetlands and build a new weir at Wellington

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Like the Mayan collapse, it appeared the Murray Darling Basin was in armageddon mode. The long-predicted climatic change appeared to have come early. The Declaration by the the three States, was released by the Prime Minister, who under the just-passed Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, 20 September 2007.

44 wetlands to die, with more to come: Plans were listed for the death of 44 wetlands with more to come “Senior officials will continue to review the extent to which further wetland disconnection for the purposes of contingency planning is recommended in the Murray System in 2007-08.

Without precedent: “We are facing a spring and summer on the Murray like no other since Hume Dam was completed in 1936,” Chief Executive Dr Wendy Craik AM said today. “The unprecedented combination of both low storage levels and low inflows will require us to operate outside our normal operating regime.”

The Overview Report to First Ministers said: “Disconnection of regulated wetlands to save water in the system continues in each State”:

• The NSW Government temporarily disconnected one regulated wetland (Tareena Billabong) in June 2007. At Euston Lakes evaporation savings will be achieved via lowering of the weir pool. This will have the same effect as disconnecting these wetlands.

• In South Australia, twenty-seven wetlands were closed in January 2007 and two additional wetlands (Ross and Jaeschke Lagoons) were disconnected in June 2007.

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources determined on 24 August 2007 that the temporary disconnection of a further seven wetlands in South Australia does not need approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (EPBC Act).

• The Murray-Darling Basin Commission has agreed to funding disconnection of six of these wetlands, including the provision of alternative water supplies for existing users;

• The Victorian Government has completed a preliminary assessment of potential wetlands for temporary disconnection.

Temporary weir near Wellington: After a referral by South Australia, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Water Resources has determined that the construction of a temporary weir near Wellington is a controlled action for the purposes of the EPBC Act. The temporary weir is to be assessed at the level of an Environmental Impact Statement. The South Australian Government will make an announcement regarding the weir during September 2007.

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, Project Approvals, River Murray, SA, Victoria, water, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

NSW, Victoria, South Australia policy-makers drought-panic leads to weasel words and tricky accounting

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

States have made a Declaration of emergency which requires to draining of more than 30 wetlands in the Murray Darling Basin to service Town Water and some irrigation. The Prime Minister’s release of the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report, September 2007 showed panic-moves to respond to worst case of a dry Murray Darling system, with water below intakes, and with what water was left – so saline,  as to, poison crops. Each state had moved into last-ditch-measures mode, and tricky accounting was disguised with weasel word as all States agreed to change rules and use bureaucratic-speak to hide the take of the last water in the system – the wetlands and ‘environmental flows’ – needed to keep the river system alive. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Environmental Flows, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, Victoria, water, Water Wars, Water Week Vol 0411, Wetlands | Leave a Comment »

“Serious” says PM: NSW, Vic, and SA argue over dregs of Murray Darling Basin

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

“The 2007-08 water availability outlook for the southern Basin system is serious and has deteriorated through August”, says the Murray-Darling Basin Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers, September 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Environmental Flows, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, SA, Victoria, water | Leave a Comment »

Australia’s water-wars: PM says Commonwealth does not plan to divert water from Victoria to South Australia: issues water emergency plan

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

On 20 September the Prime Minister published the September Murray-darling Basin Contingency Planning, paper, despite Victorian resistance.  The Prime Minister said “Last week I wrote to the Premiers of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria and the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory seeking their agreement to the release of the report. All except Premier Brumby agreed”.  The PM said “Yesterday Premier Brumby publicly announced that Victoria cannot agree to the release of an important report on water availability in the southern Murray-Darling Basin, claiming that it represented an attempt by the Commonwealth to divert water from Victoria to South Australia. The report does no such thing”, wrote the PM, and released the report, to illustrate his point.

The fourth Armageddon plan: When water falls below 3000ML – and its now at about 1500ML – an emergency plan cuts in.  The fourth Contingency Planning Report provides an update on 2007-08 water availability and state water sharing and allocations, an outline of the management of unregulated flows, progress on 2007-08 contingency measures and recommendations for contingency planning in 2008-09.

How the PM sees it:  “ Contrary to Mr Brumby’s claims, the report does not request that Victoria – or any other jurisdiction – divert water to South Australia. Rather, it recommends that measures be taken in 2007-08 to ensure there is enough water available to run the rivers and for critical needs in 2008-09. This includes the possibility – amongst other actions – of a “collective reserve” to be established by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, about which Premier Brumby expressed concerns to me last week.

Brumby says “No”: Premier Brumby’s actions “follow Victoria’s refusal to join all other jurisdictions in the National Plan for Water Security, on which the Commonwealth has been forced to adopt legislation invoking its constitutional powers”, said the PM. “ Given Mr Brumby’s misrepresentations, and strong public interest grounds for it to be in the public realm, I am releasing the fourth contingency planning report, noting Victoria’s position, in full today, 20 September 2007”.

Posted in Allocations, Drought, Emergency, mdb, Murray Darling Basin, nsw, River Murray, SA, Victoria, Water Security, Water Wars, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Water Bill 2007 leaves too many unanswered questions, places unreasonable pressure on states acting in good faith: Labor MP

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

While the Water Bill was a step forward, there was confusion and doubts about several key issues, said Labor MP Anthony Albanese in the Federal Parliament on 14 August 2007.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in mdb, Murray Darling Basin, Policy, River Murray, Town Water, water, Water Security, Water Wars, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Adel­aide should be securing its own core independent water supply and possibly building three or four water desalination plants: Leader editorial in Advertiser

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

The State Government needed to understand the financing of water infrastructure such as desalination plants was not simply a public sector issue, according to The Advertiser (7/9/2007, p.18).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bursts, desalination, Policy, Public Opinion, River Murray, Water Markets, Water Security, Water Trade, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Vox pop: Gardens take miniscule amounts of Murray water but contribute significantly to economy

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

South Australia receives 8 per cent of the Murray/Darling inflows, of which Adelaide uses on average 130 gigalitres for industry, commerce, business and community, houses and gardens, according to John Calder, Hallet Cove, in a letter to the editor of The Advertiser (17/9/2007, p. 17). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, Conservation, Consumption, Domestic, Irrigation, mdb, Public Opinion, River Murray, SA, water, Water Markets, Water Trade, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

South Australia in full crisis mode as whole Murray river unlikely to get 1 500 gigalitres flow: allocations of 16 per cent

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Kay Maywald, Minister for Water Security, answering a question in the House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007, from Adrian Pederick (Hammond) – who asked if the the increase in allocation (allocations of 16 per cent) mean that the state is getting 1 500 gigalitres across the border in River Murray inflows, Kay Maywald said the whole Murray river was unlikely to get 1 500 gigalitres flow.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, mdb, Policy, River Murray, SA, Storage, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

NSW water-mediations fail: back to NSW Land and Environment Court, as three irrigator groups’ class-actions open, against NSW government

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Mediation between Lower Murray and Lower Murrumbidgee groundwater users and the NSW and federal governments on Monday and Tuesday over com­pensation for drastic reductions in water entitlements failed to achieve a result. But groundwater users in zone one of the Upper Namoi reached an agreement they hope will allow them to withdraw their court action against the NSW Government, reported Alan Dick of The Land, (13/9/2007), p. 25.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Law, nsw, Public Opinion, River Murray, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Storage in Lake Victoria at 555 GL, to supply water to South Australia

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

The water stored in Lake Victoria originated from tributary inflows during winter, particularly from the Ovens and Kiewa Rivers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, mdb, Policy, River Murray, Storage, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Drought, Emergency, mdb, Policy, River Murray, SA, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

10 September: River Murray bed running dry; river flow checked at Lock 7, between Renmark and Mildura

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The river bed of the River Murray was running dry just across the border in Victoria and water had been kept upstream of South Australia as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission’s management plan to ensure flow across the border in coming months, reported The Advertiser (10/9/2007, p. 8).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Allocations, mdb, Policy, River Murray, SA, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Minister lists South Australia emergency water measures; such as lowered intakes to get last dregs as river-level falls: and new standpipes for water-carting

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

Kay Maywald, Minister for Water Security, told the House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007 listed South Australian government projects managed through the water security task force:

• disconnection of selected wetlands to yield over 30 gigalitres in water savings;

• modification of the major pumping stations below lock 1 to enable them to operate at the river levels as the river level falls, and to delay as long as possible the need to construct a temporary weir, if at all;

• preparations to construct a temporary weir below the Wellington have been necessary, and they include the design, construction, scheduling and environmental assessment necessary for the project should it need to go ahead;

• pumping of additional River Murray water into storages during the of 2006-07 water year has been essential, and this did increase water storage at the beginning of this year as well as provide a buffer for this year in the event of algal outbreaks in the River Murray and also other water quality issues;

• fast tracked water filtration facilities for 17 communities that presently receive unfiltered water from the River Murray at a cost of in excess of $50 million. This is an important project as we have to deal with serious water quality issues in the future, and providing that filtered water is essential;

• pipeline constructed to supply water to the Clayton community around Lake Alexandrina, which currently accesses its water from the lake; and

• standpipes for water carting have been installed at Goolwa North, Milang, Meningie, Hindmarsh Island and Narrung. “We have streamlined dredging processes to enable irrigators to access water as the river levels below lock 1 have receded”.

Reference: K.A. Maywald, Minister for Water Security, House of Assembly, South Australia, 11 September 2007.

Posted in mdb, Policy, River Murray, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

River Murray bed running dry; river flow checked at Lock 7, between Renmark and Mildura

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

The river bed of the River Murray was running dry just across the border in Victoria and water had been kept upstream of South Australia as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission’s management plan to ensure flow across the border in coming months, reported The Advertiser (10/9/2007, p. 8).

River impassable to larger craft: “Within weeks State Cabinet will consider plans for Adelaide’s first desalination plant to reduce reliance on the river,” The Advertiser reported. “The river flow has been checked at Lock 7, between Renmark and Mildura, reducing it to barely a trickle over the past week. A small channel on one side of the river allows for the passage of small boats through the lock but houseboats are unable to navigate the shallow waters.”

September dry unusual: Riverland photographer Glenn Milne said “a couple of garden hoses” would squirt more water past the lock. “There’s a huge sand bar that’s three-quarters the way across the river and the rest of it is only very shallow,” he said. Lock masters said the river bed often dried out in June when river flows were reduced but it was unusual for the river still to be dry in September when irrigation water usually was released.

Less than 25pc of monthly average flow: Monthly inflows into the River Murray had been below average for the past 23 months. In August, 360 gigalitres flowed into the river, compared with the long-term monthly average of 1570 gigalitres. The release of water from Hume reservoir has been as low as possible in winter.

Posted in Allocations, mdb, River Murray, SA, Victoria, Water Week Vol 0411 | 1 Comment »