Managed release of water keeping Hume Dam levels in check

MDBA

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is creating airspace in Hume Dam as the wetter months approach.

MDBA Acting Executive Director of River Management Dr Andrew Kremor said water levels in Hume Dam had been consistently high all year, and river operators had carefully managed releases in accordance with inflows and Bureau of Meteorology forecasts.

“It’s been an unusual year,” Dr Kremor said.

“This time last year the dam was only half full, at just 51 percent. But by mid-August, it had reached 90 per cent and has hovered there ever since.

“We are generating airspace in the dam as we enter the wetter months.​ At the moment Hume Dam is at 94 percent with just over 166 GL of airspace. This week the release of water has been as high as 19 GL per day and will continue to fluctuate.

“We work in close collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology to ensure we have the latest information on rainfall and inflows to determine how to best manage the dam both in the short and long term.

“Over the past month rainfall and soil moisture in the catchment have been average for this time of year, and average to above-average inflows are forecast for the coming months.

“The MDBA operates Hume Dam in accordance with the rules set by state governments. That means our priority is keeping the dam safe, capturing and storing water and, where we can, mitigating floods.

“Having relatively high storages at both Hume and Dartmouth Dam in early winter means there is an increased chance of flooding in the weeks and months ahead. We want to remind those living downstream of the dams to be flood ready.”

There are three things you can do to be prepared for potential floods:

  1. Develop your personalised flood emergency plan for your home and property by going to the State Emergency Service website for your state.

    www.ses.nsw.gov.au

    www.ses.vic.gov.au/plan-and-stay-safe

  2. Sign up, or check your details are up to date, for WaterNSW’s Early Warning Network to be notified by SMS, email or landline about dam activities during periods of flooding or high releases.

    www.waternsw.com.au/supply/ewn

  3. Check the Bureau of Meteorology to receive the latest weather information including warnings, river conditions and rainfall in your area

    www.bom.gov.au/australia/warnings

    www.bom.gov.au/australia/flood

    Please be prepared early so you know what to do!

Background

Hume Dam’s primary purpose is water security – it plays a crucial role in managing flows and securing water along the Murray River, including to Adelaide.

The MDBA needs to fill Hume Dam before irrigation demands start to exceed inflows, and the level starts to drop. This ensures water allocations are maximised.

The MDBA operates Hume Dam in accordance with the rules set by state governments.

When the dam fills, all flood waters pass through the dam and head downstream along with the water entering from the tributaries such as the Kiewa River.

The Bureau of Meteorology is responsible for issuing flood warnings to the public. Check www.bom.gov.au/australia/warnings for up-to-date flood warnings in your area.

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