The expected record cold and bitter temperature and ‘dry-to-very dry conditions’ has The Murray–Darling Basin Authority warning of potential chances to environmental water delivery throughout 2018/19.
The MDBA environmental watering outlook for new financial year anticipates a range of conditions across the Basin with most catchments expected to experience dry, while some will be moderate to wet.
An expected drying trend overall means water managers will need to be prepared to change the focus of delivering water for the environment in 2018/19.
MDBA Executive Director Environmental Management, Carl Binning, said water managers in the Basin would continue in attempting to build on the watering priorities he says the MDBA delivered last year.
“We saw great outcomes across the Basin in 2017-18 from planned watering events which built on the boom created from the very wet conditions in 2016,” Mr Binning said.
“Wetlands in the Murrumbidgee were reconnected to the river, Moira grass in the Barmah-Millewa Forest improved, and flows were subsequently used to connect to important wetland habitats downstream.
“In the Lachlan, water sent through the anabranches helped to stabilise water levels for Murray Cod nesting.
“While we’ll have a similar focus to last year, our goals in different catchments will need to respond to whether it’s dry or wet.”
Meanwhile, the Murray Darling states launched an independent panel to essentially mark the Basin Authority’s homework last month, as a critical juncture in the interstate water reform looms large.
Victorian Water Lisa Minister Neville and NSW Water Minister Niall Blair made a joint announcement to launch the panel in Albury in early March.
The states commissioned the panel to review the MDBA’s modelling of water recovery. The Sustainable Diversion Limit adjustment mechanism requires all states to propose water saving measures.