Murrumbidgee valley’s major supply dams rising

Murrumbidgee valley’s major supply dams rising

15 April 2021

WaterNSW is monitoring rising storage levels at the two major supply dams for the Murrumbidgee valley, as inflows persist.

Burrinjuck Dam on the Murrumbidgee River sits at 87% of capacity, up from 61% just weeks ago, and is continuing to receive inflows of approximately 2000 megalitres per day (ML/day).

Blowering Dam on the Tumut River, which feeds into the Murrumbidgee, is at 78%, up from 73% of capacity at the end of summer and receiving inflows of approximately 4000 ML/day.

In the August of 2016, prior to the September 2016 spill, Burrinjuck was at 89% of capacity, while Blowering was 83%.

WaterNSW is working with the Bureau of Meteorology to monitor weather forecasts and assess the need to commence making minor airspace releases from Burrinjuck Dam especially.

Under the operating rules for Burrinjuck Dam, WaterNSW would also be 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.

While both dam catchments are wet enough to generate run-off and inflows, the Bureau is not predicting significant rain for the near future and late-season agricultural demand is slowing the rate of storage increase.

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 in the weeks ahead.

“While there is no cause for alarm, we are monitoring the situation carefully,” he said. “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.”

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

Media contact – Tony Webber 0428 613 478.

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