Murray River

Murray River 
Drought Stage

Stage 1 - Normal management

Stage 1 emerging water shortage in May 2019, eased to drought stage 1 normal operations on 31 July 2020.

Storage Level
  • Dartmouth Dam is at 61% (2,396 GL) - shared resource compared to 62% on 1 July 2019.
  • Hume Dam is at 59% (1,781 GL) compared to 24% (706 GL) on 1 July 2019.
Allocations
  • No general security allocation for most of 2019/20, although full carryover water was available until a 3% general security allocation announced on 15 May 2020.
  • No opening general security allocation on 1 July 2020, but allocations had increased to 8% by 17 August and progressively to 46% in mid-January 2021.
  • Prior to 2020/21 allocations, previous general security allocation made in March 2018.
  • Full high priority and maximum high security allocations provided.
Actions
  • Environmental releases made in August and September 2019.
  • Conveyance allocations reduced in 2019/20 but increased with inflows.
  • Commonwealth released environmental spring flow starting in August for 2 weeks and then September 2019 for 6 weeks. The flow was designed to water the Barmah-Millewa and Koondrook Perricoota Forests and provide flow through the system to the Lower Lakes.
  • Environmental water deliveries commenced in spring 2020 and are continuing.
Issues
  • The resources of the Murray River are shared between NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
  • The River Murray system as a whole experienced 'near extreme' dry inflow conditions for 2018/19 and 'very dry' inflow conditions for 2019/20, but improved conditions in 2020/21.
Outlook
  • Spring and summer 2020 have been wetter than average.
  • Resources have improved in the NSW Murray from higher than assumed minimum inflows and lower than budgeted losses.
  • Further inflows have contributed to increased general security allocations.