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Lakes releases set to increase

Wednesday, 27th March, 2013

More water will be released from Menindee Lakes into the lower Darling River from next week.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) said releases will rise to about 4,800 ML/day (2.5m) at Weir 32 by Friday April 5 and to about 8,000 ML/day (2.9m) by Tuesday April 9.

The MDBA said that high inflows from the Darling River since early March had boosted the storage in the Menindee Lakes by about 280GL to date.

"High inflows are expected to continue until at least mid-April providing the opportunity to increase release from Lakes Wetherell and Pamamaroo to meet downstream demands and to transfer water to Lake Victoria," the MDBA said in a statement.

"Previously, the flow at Weir 32 was about 4,000 ML/ day (2.4m). Flows at Weir 32 are expected to remain above 6,000 ML/day until at least late April, if conditions remain dry and high demands continue."

A spokesperson for the MDBA said the main purpose of the releases is to meet state requirements (a mix of water for irrigators and water for the environment).

"The Menindee Lakes system was built as a water storage for the lower Darling that could be managed in harmony with the River Murray to assist in meeting the water needs of NSW, Victoria and South Australia," the spokesperson said.

"The lakes have a very high evaporation rate in summer compared to the dams, so it's really a case of "use it or lose it".

Added to this, this summer has been particularly dry, especially after three relatively wet years.

"By using water from Menindee when it is available, it increases overall water security for all three states because it leaves more water available in Hume Reservoir to meet the needs of entitlement holders along the River Murray, such as in the irrigation centres of Deniliquin, Mildura and Wentworth."

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