Menindee lakes releases increase as inflows continue

Menindee lakes releases increase as inflows continue

17 May 2022

WaterNSW is increasing releases from the Menindee lakes system towards a rate of 18 gigalitres per day (GL/day) from Weir 32, as inflows continue and rain drives more significant tributary flows in the northern basin.

Increases from the existing 14 GL/day commenced in 0.5 GL increments from Saturday, with the 18GL/day release rate expected to be reached by the end of the week and continue for at least two weeks at this stage.

However ongoing rain events and corresponding flow projections in the northern basin are likely to necessitate a further review of this release rate in coming days.

The Menindee lakes system currently sits at 118% of capacity, with a further 800-1200 GL of inflows anticipated to arrive by the end of July. This is a marked increase from last week’s estimated of 600-900 GL.

However, this total does not include the total flow generated by extensive heavy rainfall across the northern catchment of the Barwon-Darling River in recent days, which is yet to be fully modelled but is expected to further increase the inflow projection.

As a result the releases from Menindee lakes may be further increased in the weeks ahead to manage storage levels in the lakes to avert flood impacts in the Menindee township area.

WaterNSW executive manager operations, Ronan Magaharan said exceeding 18 GL/day risks impacting a number of households in the Menindee area and will not be considered as part of the current airspace operations to manage storage levels, while other options are available.

“Unfortunately if we move into flood operations, that 18 GL/day release rate may well increase, and we are currently modelling the flows generated by the ongoing major rainfall in relevant parts of Southern Queensland and the Border Rivers to understand the likelihood and timing of that operational transition to flood management.”

WaterNSW has been releasing water from the lakes down the Lower Darling continuously since September 2020, and down the Great Darling Anabranch since December 2021.

A total of 5275 GL has entered the lakes since February 2021.

Access WaterNSW information on Regional Dam levels or river heights and flow data visit WaterInsights

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