Inflows likely for Murrumbidgee valley’s major dams

Inflows likely for Murrumbidgee valley’s major dams

10 June 2021

WaterNSW is working with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to monitor a widespread rain event occurring across much of the state in coming days, including south-east NSW.

Based on the current forecast there is a possibility Blowering and Burrinjuck dams could receive inflows. Releases from both storages are expected to increase in coming days.

With Blowering Dam storage at more than 93% of capacity, even modest inflows are likely to result in airspace releases within days.

In the case of Burrinjuck Dam – currently sitting at 80% of capacity – inflows are likely to trigger translucency rules which would require increased releases that are forecast to hold the storage below full capacity.

As a result of the weather event, planned maintenance schedule for Blowering Dam in early July – which would have required releases to be temporarily stopped – has been postponed until further notice.

WaterNSW is working with the Bureau of Meteorology to monitor weather forecasts and assess the need to commence making minor airspace releases from Blowing Dam in coming days.

Under the operating rules for Burrinjuck Dam, WaterNSW is required to release a percentage of inflows received between 22 April and 21 October, which would assist in holding the storage level steady under the most likely rain event scenarios.

WaterNSW executive manager of system operations, Adrian Langdon said the storage levels and comparatively wet catchments have prompted WaterNSW river operations personnel to prepare for the possibility of airspace releases at Blowering Dam.

“We work very closely with the Bureau so we have access to the nation’s best weather forecasting, and we will use that information to help us decide whether to make flood mitigation pre-releases in the event of a significant rain forecast.

“As dam managers we are mindful that we cannot make releases to create airspace capacity to absorb inflows without a high degree of certainty that the anticipated inflows will replace those releases, and therefore not impact adversely on long term water security.”

“The other consideration is that we don’t want to exacerbate a flood-prone river system downstream of the dam by adding water to any existing, naturally-occurring tributary flows.

“In the August of 2016, prior to the September 2016 spill, these dams were at similar levels, so it certainly pays to be vigilant.”

For more information on WaterNSW storages visit: www.waternsw.com.au

Media contact – Tony Webber 0428 613 478.

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