River Murray Flow Report and Water Resources Update

Date posted: 12 May 2017

Report #19/2017

Issued 10:00 am 12 May 2017

This supersedes the previous flow report issued by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) on 5 May 2017. The next report will be provided on Friday 19 May 2017.

In this report, for ease of representation, large volumes of water are expressed in gigalitres (GL), while smaller volumes are expressed in megalitres (ML). One GL is equal to 1 000 ML.


The flow at the South Australian border is approximately 10.5 GL/day and will decrease to around 7 GL/day during the coming week. It comprises:

  • normal May Entitlement Flow 3 GL/day;
  • plus Lake Victoria spill (portion of South Australia’s Storage Right)
  • plus environmental water; and
  • interstate trade adjustments.

The current increased flow to South Australia is a result of an interstate rainfall event in late April, which reduced irrigation demands and system losses. This event was upstream of Lake Victoria. The rule in the Lake Victoria Operating Strategy requires the water level in Lake Victoria to be at a maximum of 24.5 m (350 GL) by the end of May. As a result, Lake Victoria is currently being managed to meet this target. Water released from Lake Victoria, or bypassing Lake Victoria, to enable this target to be met is considered to have spilled. In accordance with Schedule G of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, the first water to spill from a storage is South Australia’s deferred water. Approximately 40 GL to 45 GL of South Australia’s deferred water is likely to spill from this event.

The spill will have no impact on 2016-17 or 2017-18 water allocations. River Murray water access entitlement holders (Class 3a, 3b, 4, 7 and 8) will receive 100% water allocation in 2017-18 and private carryover will not be made available. Private carryover will not be available in 2017-18 due to the positive water resource availability outlook and the high risk of spill from the Murray-Darling Basin controlled storages.

The flow over Lock 1 is approximately 7 GL/day and will remain around this rate during the coming week, depending on weather conditions and extractions.

It is important to note that flow forecasts in this advice are based on the information available at the time of preparation. Advice may change as new gauging information becomes available, or due to rainfall events or changed operations upstream. The forecasts will be revised as new information becomes available.

Download the full report.