WaterNSW is preparing to water from Lake Tandure into Lake Wetherell by the end of March 2018 to increase it’s water level.
As the Menindee lakes system total storage volume falls below 17 per cent of capacity, WaterNSW is preparing to implement the next phase in its Lower Darling Operations Plan, designed to extend supply to landholders and the riverine habitat downstream of the lakes.
Under a worst-case scenario of zero inflows, the WaterNSW operations plan ensures the Menindee lakes would still provide water for Lower Darling landholders and environment until at least December 2018, and provide supply to Broken Hill until at least August 2019 if needed.
Without significant inflows, the plan’s next major action is transferring water from Lake Pamamaroo (currently at 65 per cent of capacity, and holding 181 gigalitres) to Copi Hollow, with the construction of an earthen block bank to separate the two bodies of water by August 2018.
Pumping from Pamamaroo into Copi Hollow would begin immediately with extractions to supply Essential Water customers likely by mid-December 2018 under the zero-inflow scenario.
Releases into the Lower Darling continue at a rate of ~200 megalitres per day (ML/day), with flows at Burtundy of 35ML/day.
The operations plan will endeavour to maintain at least 20ML/day at Burtundy should dry conditions persevere.
WaterNSW is in constant contact with the key Lower Darling advisory group of landholders to ensure that a minimal flow is maintained without exceeding the agreed target flow.