The Murray–Darling Basin Authority has begun increasing releases from Hume Dam today.
MDBA acting Executive Director of River Management, Dr Andrew Kremor said releases would increase from 600 megalitres per day in line with peak inflows and falling demand.
“We are aiming to provide a buffer against large rain events and reduce the risk of flooding over winter,” Dr Kremor said.
He said the decision to release water now, with the dam 88% full, is in line with rules set by Basin governments for dam management.
The MDBA cannot make releases to create additional airspace unless there’s a very high chance the dam will fill before demand exceeds inflows, Dr Kremor said.
“These decisions are based on long-term average inflows and a worst-case scenario that conditions will turn dry, which at this stage appears unlikely.”
“We expect the releases we make now will have no impact on the security of water supply from the Hume Dam down the track.
“Rain falling in the Upper Murray this week means there is a chance that we will increase releases further, depending on how much water flows into the dam. Catchments have dried out over autumn so it would take heavy rain or back-to-back events to wet them up again.
“Overbank flows in the Murray River downstream of Hume Dam require flows of 25,000 megalitres per day, and though we are still a long way from seeing that volume of water in the river, conditions can change quickly,” he said.
The Authority has advised people living near the river to keep up to date with the latest weather information including warnings, river conditions and rainfall through the Bureau of Meteorology.