Dry conditions to affect water delivery

By Country News

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is predicting a difficult 2018-19 season ahead, with dry to very dry conditions tipped in large sections of the basin.

An expected drying trend overall means water managers will need to be prepared to change the focus of delivering water for the environment in 2018-19.

MDBA environmental management executive director Carl Binning said water managers in the basin would continue to build on the watering priorities delivered last year.

‘‘We saw great outcomes across the basin in 2017-18 from planned watering events which built on the boom created from the very wet conditions in 2016,’’ Mr Binning said.

‘‘Wetlands in the Murrumbidgee were reconnected to the river, Moira grass in the Barmah-Millewa Forest improved, and flows were subsequently used to connect to important wetland habitats downstream.

‘‘Wetland vegetation and fish movement in the Macquarie River also benefited from additional flows.

‘‘While we’ll have a similar focus to last year, our goals in different catchments will need to respond to whether it’s dry or wet.’’

This year the MDBA will focus on in-channel events and areas of the floodplains close to the main rivers in drier catchments to provide drought refuges and support critical habitats.

‘‘In catchments that are wetter, we’ll look to cement the strong foundations of the past two seasons and continue to improve the condition of rivers and floodplains to support breeding and to make sure catchments are well prepared for inevitable drier times,’’ Mr Binning said.