Jan 31, 2023 | Media Releases, Media Releases 2023

With the Murray River flood peak passing out the Mouth of the Murray, attention is now turned to the flood regression to ensure towns and farmers are not left high and dry by rapidly falling river levels and poor communications.

Shadow Water Minister, Perin Davey, said live data feeds across the Basin are showing river flows dropping rapidly and farmers reporting pumps running dry due to lack of notice of the falls.

“At Mildura, flows have dropped more than 5.5 metres since the peak of the flood in mid-December, but incredibly, it fell nearly three metres in just one week,” Senator Davey said.

“The rapid recession of the flood water is impacting farmers whose pump suctions are being stranded and other users such as tourism operators and fishers who depend on knowing how the river is flowing. 

“Farmers and businesses have expressed concern about the lack of communications about river flows following the flood compared to in the weeks preceding the peak.

“Work has now started on reinstalling the locks along the river which help operators manage flows, but there are concerns this is happening too late, creating rapid falls in river heights.

“It has now been confirmed at least one weir has minor damage slowing the process and impacting river levels but not before the impact has already been felt by farmers.

“If the floods and natural disasters over the past three years have taught us anything, it’s people need facts, not rumours,” Senator Davey said.

Senator Davey said the MDBA’s weekly report is a good way for people to monitor river operations, flows and levels, it is not enough in these extraordinary circumstances.

“When you have fiver heights falling nearly three metres between weekly reports, more needs to be done to inform those where the falls will impact operations. 

“Just as alerts are released to various sites prior to increase river heights so farmers can move pumps and prepare, the same needs to be done for rapid falls.

“The MDBA has a large communications and stakeholder engagement team so it could easily keep both its traditional media and social media channels up to date,” she said.