Burrinjuck releases increased as next rain event looms

WaterNSW is increasing airspace releases from Burrinjuck Dam to increase storage capacity to capture more inflows anticipated from rain forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology for the weekend.

Airspace releases resumed late Saturday from Burrinjuck dam, which currently sits at 99 per cent of storage capacity, having received 67,000 megalitres (ML) of inflows since July 15.

Those releases will reach 15,000 ML today – up from 10,000 ML yesterday (19 July) – with the objective of lowering the Burrinjuck storage before inflows increase again as a result of the predicted weekend rain.

At this point Burrinjuck only has capacity to receive 8,000 ML before reaching capacity. Blowering Dam – where ongoing airspace releases are also being considered – has airspace capacity of 47,000 ML and sits at 96 per cent.

WaterNSW executive manager of system operations, Adrian Langdon said the storage levels, the Bureau’s forecast and wet catchments have required WaterNSW to continue operations to maximise airspace capacity between rain events.

“While there is no cause for alarm, we are monitoring the situation carefully,” he said. “We work very closely with the Bureau so we have access to the nation’s best weather forecasting.

“As dam managers we never want to exacerbate a flood-prone river system downstream of the dam by adding water to any existing, naturally-occurring tributary flows.

“During the weekend rain event we saw significant uncontrolled tributary flow downstream into the Murrumbidgee and Tumut rivers, and we cut our dam releases back to minimum until those tributary flows had peaked.

“This will be our management strategy while the storages remain high and the Bureau forecast of ongoing rain events in the months ahead remains current.

“We are also in close contact with downstream stakeholders to ensure we are receiving community feedback and making decisions that factor-in downstream impacts.”

For more information on WaterNSW storages visit: www.waternsw.com.au