First Menindee lake water into Anabranch since 2017

First Menindee lake water into Anabranch since 2017

24 September 2021

WaterNSW is today commencing releases from the Menindee lakes system into the Great Darling Anabranch, introducing the first prolonged flow into this stretch of river since 2017.

With the Menindee lakes currently at 109.3% and inflows continuing, WaterNSW will direct releases into the Darling Anabranch as part of operations to manage the lakes’ storage levels.

On current projections flows will continue into the lakes well into October, even in the absence of follow up rain in the northern catchment.

With Menindee lakes set to receive more water than they can hold – and in line with strong local community sentiment - water will be released from the Cawndilla outlet into the Darling Anabranch at a rate of 250 megalitres per day (ML/day), rising to 1000 ML/day within days.

The releases, which will eventually incorporate environmental water held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, will continue into summer, to ensure connectivity with the Murray River and to maximise environmental benefits.

WaterNSW executive manager, Adrian Langdon, said the large volume of water already in the lakes and the ongoing inflows presented a timely watering opportunity for the Darling Anabranch, a move supported by feedback from the local community and stakeholders.

“By making the operational decision to direct flows into the Darling Anabranch, WaterNSW is making good use of the abundant water to replenish the riverine environment of the last major waterway in the state yet to recover from drought,” Mr Langdon said.

“Working with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office to augment today’s (Friday, 24 September) release with follow up environmental flows will extend the water through to the Murray River, optimising habitat conditions for native fish.

“This efficient utilisation of the Menindee resource will bring tremendous benefit to the ecosystem of the Anabranch, as well as the landholders and communities along its route.”

Media Contact – Tony Webber 0428 613 478 or Angela Davies 0467 947 426

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Tuesday 19 October