The Authority discussed the ongoing consequences of recent floods through the Basin, in particular the tragic fish deaths this month in the Barka-Darling River at Menindee. They expressed their deep concern about the impact on local communities and the river environment and commended the coordinated efforts of water management agencies and the NSW Police to address community concerns, to ensure potable water supply and to effectively remove a great many dead fish from the river.
Members noted the MDBA has supported the New South Wales government in their primary role in the response underway at Menindee and it is supporting the ongoing management of the situation and aiding scientific monitoring at the site. Members also noted the independent review to be conducted by the state of NSW.
Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds updated the Authority on current water resource availability, with the whole-of-Basin water in storage remaining high overall for mid-autumn, at 89% capacity. Key water management activities in the River Murray System were also discussed, including early work to progress the next phase of the Barmah-Millewa Program, and steps underway to scope the review of recent flooding in the River Murray commissioned by the Ministerial Council at its February meeting.
MDBA Executive Director of the Basin Plan, Tim Goodes provided an update on the development of a First Nations engagement approach for the Basin Plan Review. The Authority noted that the project is in the design phase and looked forward to considering a recommended approach in an upcoming meeting.