Snowy River increased flows

In determining how to use the environmental water in the Snowy River, the three governments agreed that the primary ecological objective would be achieved by storing and then releasing sufficient volumes to provide annual flushing flows. These high flows facilitate the improvement in the physical condition of the in-stream habitat by scouring and transporting fine sediment (i.e. primarily, sand, silt and clay). This primary ecological objective was identified as a high priority for the environment during the Snowy Water Inquiry. These high flows are important to improve river health. It is expected that as the river physically responds over time to the higher flows, the focus of the recovery process will transition to meet other secondary ecological objectives.

2018–2019 Water year

A revised operational target of 137.1 GL is to be released to the Snowy River during 2018–19 from Jindabyne Dam, which includes a base passing flow of 8.5 GL.

Table 1. Displays the five winter/spring high-flow releases
Release date Volume (megalitres/day)
Thursday 30 August 2,364 megalitres/day*
Wednesday 12 September 2,530 megalitres/day*
Wednesday 3 October 2,721 megalitres/day*
Wednesday 17 October 5,000 megalitres/day** (largest flow event)
Wednesday 31 October 2,140 megalitres/day*

* These high flow events are expressed as an equivalent flow rate. The peak flow rate will occur for eight hours so as to (i) mimic the flashy hydrology of the Snowy and to (ii) promote habitat improvement. These will occur from 7am to 3pm.

** Less than predicited inflows into Jindabyne Dam has resulted in changes to the size and duration of this flow event. The peak flowflow rate has been reduced to 5,000 ML/d, but will now be extended over a 24 hour period, occurring between 8.00am on Wednesday 17 October and 8.00am Thursday 18 October, instead of the eight hour duration previously planned.

The department will issue 'rising river alerts' to relevant media organisations a few days prior to each of the five high-flow events.

Increased flows and targets

Rising river alerts

There are a total of five ‘rising river alerts’ to be issued during the course of the scheduled winter/spring 2018 high-flow releases. Each alert will appear below once issued.