Lakes’ releases to rise further as inflow forecast grows

Lakes’ releases to rise further as inflow forecast grows

16 December 2021

Releases from Menindee lakes will increase further following consultation with local community representatives and downstream stakeholders, as inflow forecasts from the northern basin continue to increase.

Releases from the lakes will rise from the current rate of 17 gigalitres per day (GL/day) to 18 GL/day as the latest modelling indicates inflow totals in coming weeks could reach 1600 - 2200 gigalitres (GL).

WaterNSW will continue to review release requirements but expect to make further increases early in the new year, at rates in the order of 23 - 25 GL/day.

The decision coincides with flood advisories for the Barwon-Darling system and numerous other northern basin tributaries issued by the Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov.au)

With the lakes total storage volume at 100% of capacity, the increased releases are intended to achieve 95% capacity by the end of December, when the anticipated increase in inflows is expected to commence.

At 95% the lakes will have capacity to capture approximately 400 GL of the coming inflows, which will take the storage back into the flood surcharge zone.

Forecast estimates from large flows in the Namoi valley, Border Rivers and Southern Queensland tributaries indicate that significant inflows will continue into the lakes until February.

Flows at Wilcannia today are already above 12 GL/day and will continue to rise to above 30 GL/d by early February.

WaterNSW Executive Manager System Operations, Adrian Langdon, said WaterNSW is working with the respective NSW Government authorities and community reference groups to manage the lakes.

“Increased releases will unfortunately cause some further inundation and inconvenience downstream but will also improve our chances of mitigating the impacts of the large volume of water expected into the lakes in the weeks ahead,” he said. “By reducing the current storage level we will meet our obligations under the operating rules, and also create capacity to capture at least some of the next inflows,” he said.

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

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