Releases from Menindee lakes have successfully created storage capacity to capture a large volume of the inflow making its way into the lakes and which is expected to reach its peak in February.
Releases over the summer have reduced the storage to approximately 91% of capacity, creating at least 400 gigalitres of available space to capture inflows, the peak of which is expected to pass through
Bourke later this week on its way down the Darling River.
Forecast estimates from large flows in the Namoi valley, Border Rivers and Southern Queensland tributaries late last year indicate that significant inflows totaling 1800-2200 gigalitres will flow into Menindee lakes until at least February.
Releases from the lakes are being maintained at a daily rate of approximately 22 gigalitres, through both the Lower Darling and Cawndilla Anabranch outlet, to exceed the rate of inflow and reduce the storage volume, while minimising inundation in the local community.
A multi-agency flood management committee has been convened as required by the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement. Information sessions involving WaterNSW and the NSW State Emergency Service are planned for next week at Pooncarie on Tuesday (18 January 10.30am, Pooncarie Town Hall) and Menindee on Wednesday (19 January 9am, Menindee Basketball Complex).
WaterNSW Executive Manager System Operations, Adrian Langdon, said prioritising the amount of water that can be captured in the lakes is critical to limiting local flood impacts.
“The volume we are expecting during summer could be the equivalent of the entire volume of the lakes, but it will arrive gradually and over the space of weeks,” he said. “The more capacity we have in the lakes to capture these inflows, the more we will lessen extent of the flood impact.
“While our release plan has been successful in reaching airspace targets, there remains some uncertainty around how the water will interact with the floodplain of the Tallywalka creek system.”
To access WaterNSW information on river heights and flow data visit: WaterInsights