MDBA to store water in dams, lowering river levels in process

By Rodney Woods

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority will focus on conserving water in the major dams for the next water year due to recent rainfall in the southern basin easing demand for irrigation water.

The authority's river management executive director Andrew Reynolds said rain and lower temperatures along the Murray River had reduced irrigation demand a bit earlier than usual and expected it to continue tapering off with autumn now arriving.

“Water is scarce, and as river managers we need to store as much as we can for future use,” Mr Reynolds said.

“This is part of normal operations, especially during autumn and winter, to maximise water availability for licence holders in the year ahead.

“As we get more rain, river levels in the Murray will become relatively low compared with flows that are typical for this time of year.

“If you use the river for business or recreation, including pumpers and boat operators, please keep an eye on local river heights and consider adjusting your activities as water levels change.”

Mr Reynolds said the authority would work with state water agencies to provide as much information to the community as possible so they can plan for dropping river levels.

“The drought has been tough on many licence holders reliant on the River Murray system, so we need to take every opportunity to top-up the reserves for future use by the southern basin states,” he said.

“We are still in drought and water availability is low — it’s imperative we take this action.”

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