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NSW gives 148 gigs to SA

Wednesday, 20th January, 2010

*Locals enjoying a day's fishing at the main weir at Menindee *Locals enjoying a day's fishing at the main weir at Menindee

An agreement has been reached for NSW to allow 148 gigalitres of floodwaters to be released into the parched Lower Lakes region of South Australia.

The agreement follows the latest assessment of the floods at the Murray-Darling Basin Officials Committee meeting in Canberra yesterday.

SA Premier Mike Rann told reporters that he was "delighted" as "NSW did not have to give us one drop." "NSW and SA have been working cooperatively to make sure the Lower Lakes are given a reasonable flow from the water from recent floods," NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said.

"These floodwaters have provided at least 148 gigalitres for the Lower Lakes, which includes 48 gigalitres of water from the Living Murray Initiatives Darling Anabranch water supply project that has been boosted by these floods," she said.

The 148 gigalitres would be the total amount released after evaporation, Mr Rann said. Ms Keneally said most of the water from the recent rainfall was still making its way downstream from north west NSW.

"This water has to travel hundreds of kilometres downstream to the Menindee Lakes before it can be released," she said.

Mr Rann said the extra flows would prevent further environmental damage to the Lower Lakes. Flows from the Menindee Lakes to the Lower Darling River have been increased over recent days and will be about 9,000 megalitres per day by tomorrow.

Landowners have been advised to move their pumps and other property accordingly. The river at weir 32 yesterday was 1.97 metres and will be 3.2 metres by tomorrow. NSW Water Commissioner David Harriss said these flows will then be maintained for up to two weeks before being gradually reduced.

"The water flowing from the Lower Darling into the River Murray will be re-regulated in Lake Victoria and will provide an improvement in water availability for NSW and also will provide for increased environmental flows in South Australia," he said.

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