Trial for Hume hydro releases

By Country News

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority and energy company Meridian Energy Australia will trial varying water release patterns from Hume Dam to increase power supplies and grid stability this summer.

MDBA river management executive director Andrew Reynolds said the volume of water available to communities, irrigators and environmental water holders would not be affected by the trial.

‘‘The trial is designed to achieve multiple benefits through careful and planned operations — conserving water for entitlement holders and maintaining the river environment in line with our business as usual, while also improving electricity generation,’’ Mr Reynolds said.

‘‘While river levels will vary most noticeably immediately below Hume Dam, they will remain within the current range of variability and will dissipate by the time the flow reaches Albury.

‘‘We’re releasing the same amount of water over each day just at different times.

‘‘With current conditions being so dry it’s important to note the trial will not impact on water availability for entitlement holders downstream of Hume.’’

The trial will operate within current river operating rules and have been designed in conjunction with Meridian who are seeking to provide extra network support over the summer.

The trial will see a regular scheduled release pattern that will vary water releases at Hume Dam from 2pm to 8pm on weekdays.

‘‘Releases will be closely monitored throughout the summer to ensure that there are no adverse impacts on native fish or bank erosion rates,’’ Mr Reynolds said.

The trial has been labelled as a step forward for the energy industry by Powershop and Meridian Energy Australia chief executive officer Ed McManus.

‘‘By releasing more water at times of the day with peak electricity demand we will make better use of the Hume Dam to generate electricity when it is most needed, with no impact to downstream water users,’’ he said.

Mr Reynolds urged people to remember that conditions could change rapidly along the river; particularly close to a hydro station, and they should always obey signs and follow any instructions.