Local communities and visitors to the Murray River downstream of Hume Dam and Yarrawonga during the Easter holidays are being warned flows and river heights will continue to vary through autumn, but will remain steady at Easter.
Murray-Darling Basin Authority head of river operations David Dreverman said at this time of year, river managers monitored and adjusted releases from Hume Dam daily, based on weather forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology and demand from downstream entitlement holders, including irrigators and environmental water users.
‘‘Most of the water moving through the system at the moment is meeting irrigation demand, with about 10 per cent being environmental water,’’ he said.
‘‘With irrigation demand steady, we expect the river to remain around the levels experienced during the last couple of weeks.
‘‘The Murray downstream of Hume Dam is expected to be about 13000 megalitres per day during Easter, resulting in flow depths about 40cm below the peak recorded so far this year.
‘‘In the reach downstream of Yarrawonga the flow rate has been largely unchanged in 2017, and will continue at around 8000 megalitres per day over Easter.’’
Mr Dreverman said while flows in these reaches would be lower than those during Easter in the past couple of years, they were not expected to fall to levels experienced in 2014 when sudden and extensive rain halted orders for water by irrigators.
He said river conditions at this time of year were largely dependent on system conditions and how much water was ordered by entitlement holders.
‘‘River levels this year from Hume to downstream of Yarrawonga have been lower than in recent years as demand further downstream has been mainly met by inter-valley transfers from the Goulburn and Murrumbidgee rivers and by Menindee Lakes and Lake Victoria,’’ Mr Dreverman said.
‘‘The amount of water called at this time of year, by irrigators in particular, can fluctuate quite a bit as the weather in autumn is typically variable.’’