Water on the way
Monday, 8th April, 2013
After being drained to half its capacity earlier this year, the Menindee Lakes' storage is again on the rise.
A substantial flow, the second in as many months, is making its way down the Darling River and is expected to enter the lakes later this month.
The latest flow was triggered by heavy rainfall in the upstream catchments in late February and early March.
In a report, the NSW Office of Water (NOW) said the peak was now passing Brewarrina.
It said by the end of the month about 900 gigalitres were expected to enter the lakes which were currently at 66 per cent of full supply capacity and rising slowly.
"Even with increased releases to meet demand for water downstream in the Murray, it is expected that the volume stored in the lakes will increase to at least 75 per cent of total storage capacity by the end of April," the report said.
The lakes had fallen to as low as 50 per cent of capacity last month as a result of releases ordered by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).
City Council and the Central Darling Shire Council questioned the size of the releases and sought an explanation from the MDBA which said the releases were not excessive.
Most of the water is being held in lakes Wetherell and Pamamaroo, which were near full and surcharged respectively, providing maximum operational flexibility, according to the NOW.
The two lower lakes, Menindee and Cawndilla, are at 40 per cent and 57 per cent of full capacity respectively.
"Water levels at Lakes Menindee and Cawndilla have begun to rise over the last week as inflows from the upper lakes exceed evaporation plus the volume being released through the Menindee outlet regulator," the report said.