ABC rural reporter Angus Verley was on location last Friday, January 20 in the flood ravaged Benjeroop area ... “We haven’t been flooded out in 100 years but we’ve been flooded out twice in 13 years,” Mr Schultz told Mr Verley. “Something’s not quite right and that’s what we have got to get to the bottom of.”
Exploding carp numbers are ‘like a house of horrors’ for our rivers. Is it time to unleash carp herpes?: CSU
With widespread La Niña flooding in the Murray-Darling Basin, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) populations are having a boom year. Videos of writhing masses of both adult and young fish illustrate that all is not well in our rivers.
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek is continuing to ignore farmers. VFF Water Council Chair Andrew Leahy said despite multiple attempts by the VFF to meet with the Commonwealth, Minister Plibersek’s key water adviser and Murray Darling Basin Authority staff were in Shepparton, but did not meet farmers. “There is no group more impacted by the Basin Plan than farmers and the Commonwealth has chosen to ignore us.”
Water Minister Susan Close has defied Peter Malinauskas’ order to visit River communities once a week in the lead up to the extraordinary flood event, instead favouring a month-long overseas holiday – her third international trip in the past three months. With water levels expected to peak in the coming weeks and more homes and businesses becoming inundated, the Opposition questions the timing and length of the holiday.
As the Albanese Government is trying to rush through its water recovery strategy before Christmas, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s sand slug has been very active. Like a mythical creature that lurks in the watery depths, the sand slug was the MDBA’s answer to why the natural constraint of the Barmah Choke had reduced in water delivery capacity ... A recent photo from grass roots community members continues to highlight the rapid rate of erosion at Davies Beach, Cobram.
River Murray flows remain consistent with previous forecasts as government moves to daily height updates: Malinauskas and Szakacs
Today’s River Murray flow update shows the floodwater peak is still due in Renmark around the end of December and forecasts remain between 190 and 220 gigalitres a day, consistent with previous projections. While flow rates are useful for forecasting the scale of floods, water heights provide a better picture of conditions on the ground. Subsequently, as we are now closer to the expected peak, the Department for Environment and Water is now able to provide daily height forecasts for population centres.
The Authority commended the ongoing efforts of the MDBA river operators to provide significant flood mitigation for communities downstream of Hume Dam, with twice the volume of the dam's capacity having been carefully released over the past 6 months to manage downstream flows. This has enabled the peak outflow from Hume Dam to be moderated throughout winter and spring.
Residents and landholders have breathed a sigh of relief this week as flood waters peaked at Moulamein at a height of 6.235m. While the peak is a welcome sign, the impacts of the flooding are still dramatic on the community ... In what is typically a busy time for mixed irrigators of Moulamein, the flooding is hampering the harvest of winter crops and rice production.
As the weather warms up and dissolved oxygen in the local rivers and creeks remain dangerously low, the community is leading the fish protection response. From old bedframes with dripper lines supplied with air compressors, to garden hoses circulating water, and even a paddleboat churning through $700 in fuel per week in an effort to provide an oxygenated refuge for native fish. The Murray Downs Marina dissolved oxygen went up above 5mg/L after four days with the Iron Dry paddle boat running.
Even with more than 100,000 megalitres a day crossing the South Australian border, SA Water closed the barrages due to seawater flowing into the freshwater estuary. SA Water satellite imagery also shows the current flooding is still not moving down the Coorong. The real risk of constraints relaxation may be felt closer to home. The modification of the Barmah Choke has been seen as the crown jewel for accessing held environmental water. The choke protects Echuca-Moama and Koondrook-Barham from large Murray floods from Hume Dam, currently on display with the flows heading north down the Edward-Wakool system ... Community concerns over constraints relaxation flooding farmers and potentially impacting townships has been labelled as scaremongering by MDBA Chief Executive Andrew McConville.
The Victorian Farmers Federation has expressed outrage towards the comments made by Murray Darling Basin Authority Chief Executive Andrew McConville in his Rural Press Club address, 10 years after the Basin Plan gave the green light to take water from farming communities. VFF Water Council Chair Andrew Leahy said Mr McConville’s commentary ignored the ongoing impact of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on farming communities and sounded like it was designed to appease the Federal Labor government ... “We expect the MDBA CEO to be professional and impartial, not a political sycophant. It seems he needs to re-read the Basin Plan as he forgot to mention in his speech that the 450GL is only possible if there are no negative social and economic impacts”.
The Moulamein Club was packed as community members gathered on Monday to hear the flood advice from Murray River Council, SES and NSW Police ... “Since we started the last meeting last Monday, the prediction was 6.1m. By the time we left that meeting, the prediction was 6.2m and on Sunday morning, I believe it reached 6.099 metres which is now the highest we’ve ever seen": Murray River Council’s Director of Infrastructure, Jack Bond.
1.5 million sandbags and almost 8 km of flood barriers have been secured by the South Australia Government to help protect flood affected River Murray communities. Three kilometres of DefenCell barriers from India arrived in Adelaide on Saturday 19 November with a further four kilometres of product expected to arrive on 28 November from Italy.
The NSW Government has reaffirmed its opposition to non-strategic water buybacks being used to meet water recovery targets as part of the Murray Darling Basin Plan ... Mr Anderson said the NSW Government welcomes the Commonwealth correcting the record and reaffirming there is no open round of buybacks being undertaken. “We have seen first-hand the negative long-term impact non-strategic buybacks have had on our communities and we want to avoid this,” Mr Anderson said.
The state’s peak farming group has slammed secret water buyback plans that will hurt rural communities in NSW. On Friday afternoon The Land revealed state water ministers had agreed to almost 50 gigalitres of water buybacks at last month’s Ministerial Council meeting, with most of that water coming from NSW.
Daryl Wiltshire from Undera reports that while the floodwaters are receding, the community is waiting and hoping that the rain that is forecast will not affect the region too much. Undera people are "hoping for a show of resolve from the authorities who control levees to future flood proof the farming area."
The Murray–Darling Basin Authority will increase the release of water from Hume Dam [Friday 11 November] morning ahead of potentially heavy rainfall from Sunday 13 November as forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology. Releases from Hume Dam will increase from 85 gigalitres (GL) per day to 95 GL per day.
UGRCA. The Victorian and NSW Governments need to withdraw from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, according to an advocacy group. Upper Goulburn River Catchment Management Association representative, Jan Beer, says there appears no other option, with zero appetite from the Albanese Government to listen to and understand the implications of its Basin Plan proposals. Mrs Beer said it has become impossible to reason with new federal Water Minister, Tanya Plibersek, so it will be left up to the respective state governments to protect their communities.
The Murray River at Koondrook-Barham is on the decline after a week of extreme height forecasts and even an evacuation scare for the Koondrook Primary School. Despite the river being on decline and steady flows through Torrumbarry, the BoM issued a flood warning of 6.3m on Wednesday, November 2 for Koondrook-Barham ... The move caused a flurry of activity on both sides of the river ... Many wondered how the 6.3m forecast came about; was it a rounding up of the one decimal place used by the BoM?
A rescue and relocation operation is currently underway by NSW DPI Fisheries to save Murray Crayfish impacted by poor water quality following flooding along the Murray River. The rescued crayfish will be transported to Narrandera Fisheries Centre for safekeeping until conditions improve and they can be returned to the river safely.
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