Recent rain and storm activity over northern Victoria did little to replenish the state’s Murray Darling Basin catchments, already depleted by the driest January to June period in 30 years.
Murray Darling Basin Authority river management executive director Andrew Reynolds said the slow, low moving pressure system and associated cold front brought rain over most of the southern Basin.
“In Victoria, rainfall was widespread, although much of the state only received light falls. The largest totals were in the central and north central parts where Yea recorded 25 mm, while and 32 mm was recorded at both Mt Wombat and Tatura,” Mr Reynolds said.
“Rainfall late in the week provided only small streamflow increases to the upper Murray tributaries.
The Mitta Mitta River at Hinnomunjie increased from 1,500 megalitres a day, while the upper Murray at Biggara rose from 760 ML/day.”
But he said the MDBA active storage decreased by 40Giglatires to 4,903 GL (58% capacity), while ongoing transfers from Dartmouth Reservoir to Hume Reservoir saw it drop in volume by 45GL to 3,197GL (83% capacity).
Water stored in Dartmouth Reservoir is generally maintained as the system’s drought reserve and is called upon in dry seasons when the downstream storages have insufficient water to meet demands.
“Given the continuing dry conditions and low tributary stream flows, substantial calls on water from Dartmouth are expected to continue this year,” Mr Reynolds said.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s regional hydrology manager Elma Kazazic said the rain had only a marginal impact on storages.
“With follow up of sunny, dry and windy days, it’s going to dry out the catchments pretty quickly, too,” Ms Kazazic said. “One individual event won’t help a lot.
“We need fairly decent falls, a decent rain event, and something of a follow-up, after that too.”