Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Murray River

Limited tickets remain for River reflections – Narrabri: MDBA

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority's annual water conference River reflections is on in Narrabri on 14–15 June, and the final program is now available. The 2-day forum is a showcase of the communities, industries and ideas in water management and will include an address by MDBA Chair Sir Angus Houston.

River Murray under threat by Labor’s $600m hydrogen plant that won’t lower energy bills: Patterson, Girolamo

Peter Malinauskas’ experimental hydrogen plant could raid precious water resources from the River Murray to operate, it has been revealed, alongside confirmation SA households won’t see a cent of energy bill relief despite $600 million taxpayer investment ... “We are the driest state in the driest continent in the world, and Peter Malinauskas doesn’t know where he is sourcing the huge amounts of water needed to run this experimental hydrogen plant that does nothing to reduce the cost of SA electricity bills": Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero, Stephen Patterson.

South Australians urged to call for River Murray promises to be fulfilled: Close

This is the Productivity Commission’s second five yearly review into the effectiveness of the implementation of the Plan and it focuses on what needs to change for it to be delivered in full ... The Productivity Commission is consulting widely on its review including with Basin governments, environmental water managers, peak bodies, researchers and academics, Aboriginal people and Basin communities.

A first in 40 years – Murray crayfish released back into South Australian waters: Landscape SA

Around 200 Murray crayfish have been released into the river as part of a landmark trial to reintroduce the iconic Australian species back into the South Australian River Murray ... "The Murray crayfish release in South Australia would not have been possible without the rescue efforts of OzFish volunteers during the upstream black-water event, and North-West Aquaculture and Nature Glenelg Trust for maintaining them in captivity," said Darren Willis, Team Leader Wetlands at the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board.

Murray–Darling Basin Authority communique, 11 May 2023

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority met on 10 May 2023 in person on Ngunnawal Country (Canberra) and via videoconference ... Key water management activities in the River Murray System were discussed, including airspace management at Hume Dam, as well as the prospect of an El Niño weather pattern developing later in the year.

Just add water, again

While Victoria wrestles with the federal government over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan Sustainable Diversion Limit project, the delivery of held environmental water ramps up to flood Gunbower Forest again. Described as the ‘Special Sauce’ by North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA), held environmental water will be used to irrigate the forest following two flooding events in 2022, an irrigation event and the following wide-scale major flooding. It’s not tree or canopy health that is driving the NCCMA’s call for water this time around but food for water birds.

Hume Dam releases increase to manage airspace: MDBA

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority is creating airspace at Hume Dam as irrigation demands decrease and the wetter months approach ... "Hume Dam is currently at 91% capacity and Dartmouth is at 96%. Airspace management releases will continue at Dartmouth Dam at low rates": MDBA Executive Director of River Management Andrew Reynolds.

Barmah Choke trade opportunity for new irrigation year: MDBA

The Barmah Choke water trade balance to start the 2023–24 water year will deliver a solid trade opportunity for irrigators. MDBA Executive Director of River Management Andrew Reynolds, said the water available to trade downstream of the Barmah Choke on 1 July 2023 would be about 60.6 gigalitres (GL).

Southern Murray–Darling Basin water prices forecast to remain lower than average for fourth consecutive year: ABARES

Water allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin are likely to remain low for a fourth consecutive year, according to the latest ABARES Water Market Outlook ... ABARES considers the average scenario to be the most likely, with prices expected to increase to $80 per ML across the southern basin in 2023–24, up from $29 per ML in 2022 23.

Government urged to pilot bold new plan to deliver urgent final water flows to Murray-Darling Basin, without the need for buybacks: Waterfind

An Australian-first program designed to restore critical environmental water flows to the Murray-Darling Basin, while meeting the ongoing needs of local irrigators and growers, has been proposed as an “immediate, affordable and genuine” solution to the nation’s Basin Plan – avoiding the need for short-term, unpopular water buybacks as announced by the Federal Government.

Keep an eye out for changed conditions downstream of Hume Dam this Easter: MDBA

Murray River campers and river users looking forward to spending time on the Murray downstream of Hume Dam this Easter are reminded to be aware of potentially changed river conditions as a result of the recent floods. MDBA Executive Director of River Management, Andrew Reynolds said depending on which part of the river you visit, riverbanks may have changed and hidden snags and other debris may be more prevalent.

Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council communique, 31 March 2023

The Authority discussed the ongoing consequences of recent floods through the Basin, in particular the tragic fish deaths this month in the Barka-Darling River at Menindee. They expressed their deep concern about the impact on local communities and the river environment and commended the coordinated efforts of water management agencies and the NSW Police to address community concerns, to ensure potable water supply and to effectively remove a great many dead fish from the river. 

Strangle hold

A recent report on the Water Supply and Demand in the Southern Murray-Darling Basin released by the Victorian Government conveys the catastrophic convergence of events that are unfolding under a plan to “restore the balance” and “save the Murray.” The report brings into focus the extent to which water scarcity will increase in the future as existing and new permanent horticulture plantings explode below the natural constraints of the river system and fight for dam storage.

Environmental benefits of River Murray flood are beginning to emerge: Close

The sound of the musical eastern banjo frog ringing out across the Pike floodplain is among the incredible sights and sounds ecologists are observing as floodwaters recede throughout the Murraylands, Riverland and Lower Lakes ... "We will eventually go back into a drier period and that is when the 450 gigalitres promised SA under the Murray Darling Basin Plan but not delivered will be of the utmost importance to maintaining the health of the river system": Susan Close.

Fish deaths span the Basin

The Darling River was once again making headlines as the muddy waters were hardly visible through a blanket of dead fish. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s mantra of ‘just add water’ has had a schooling once again by mother nature as the kills come on the back of some of the highest inflows and floods on record.

Detailed design work to begin on Barmah–Millewa Program: MDBA

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority is moving ahead with detailed design work on a suite of options to improve the movement of water through the Barmah–Millewa Reach of the Murray River. Basin governments in February noted the results of the Barmah–Millewa Feasibility Study and committed $2.35 million to the next stage of investigation in what will be known as the Barmah–Millewa Program.

Misleading Deceptive Bastards, Again…

Community members and representatives have been left aghast at the latest actions by a federal agency as they seek to drain more water from the southern connected region ... “I don’t think they could have structured it much better to make sure that they had people stay away from the meeting,” said local farmer and Wakool River Association Chair John Lolicato ... “I don’t think they care. I think they think we’re dispensable.”

Labor’s sneaky closed-door consultation on water buybacks: Littleproud

Labor is sneaking into St George to hold closed sessions on its water buyback plan. A St George information session on the Strategic Water Purchasing Framework will be hosted by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water on Monday, 13 March, between 2 and 4pm. However, the location remains a secret, and the website link only allows invited guests to rsvp. Leader of The Nationals and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud described Labor’s tactic as “outrageous”.

Scientists head to River Murray to study environmental impacts of flood: Close

Scientists have launched a series of research projects to determine how River Murray environments are responding to the once-in-a-generation flood. The Department for Environment and Water is working with the Goyder Institute for Water Research and its partners to fill knowledge gaps to inform the future management of riverine, floodplain and wetland habitats.

River Daze amazes

The 2023 River Daze festival thrilled attendees with talented musicians, great food and reasonable prices. “It’s such an intimate setting to have over 1,000 people in here, the river in the background and a family friendly atmosphere,” said Paul, who had travelled from Melbourne for the event.

MRSG ‘disappointed’ that solutions are ignored

The organisation representing community and farming interests across the NSW Murray region has expressed ‘disappointment’ at the Albanese Government’s push to reintroduce water buybacks. The Murray Regional Strategy Group (MRSG) has worked tirelessly on solutions that would help deliver environmental water without sacrificing food production.

Locked out!

Community members, farmers, industry representatives and journalists have been locked out of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) Bridging the Gap water buyback consultation meetings in Deniliquin ... The Federal Government and their bureaucracy’s contempt for southern NSW and northern Victoria communities has no sign of slowing down, even a meeting over a community good, like water, is essentially invite only.

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