Taste of winter relief in Basin weather outlook

There are real signs emerging that the Murray-Darling Basin is in for a wetter than average winter. That’s the conclusion of the latest drought update from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority based on the climate and water outlook from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

MDBA Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds said the strong odds of higher than average rainfall this winter for most of the continent, including the Basin, was lifting confidence that our depleted water stocks will be replenished in the 2020-21 year.

“The Bureau’s streamflow forecast indicates that higher flows in winter are likely in the northern and southern Basin. This would replenish storage levels in the Dartmouth and Hume dams which were last full in 2016,” Mr Reynolds said.

“We’ve had some great falls this year which have primed catchments, but we need rain gauges to overflow a few more times before we can call this drought over.”

Overall Basin storage levels are currently at 16 percent in the north, which is up from 13 percent in the past fortnight, and 34 percent in the south, just 1 percent better than a fortnight ago.

“It was good to see Burrendong Dam, which supplies Dubbo, receive a major boost to now sit at 13 percent capacity and Menindee Lakes is now 16 percent after having been effectively empty at the beginning of the year.

“According to WaterNSW between 435 and 475 gigalitres of water in total is expected to enter the Menindee lakes from the Darling River in the coming weeks and months.

“We’re very glad to be assisting the flows released into the lower Darling as they enter the Murray right now.”

The fortnightly drought update is available on the MDBA website.

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