Murray River officially runs dry

The river bed of the River Murray was running dry just across the border in Victoria and water had been kept upstream of South Australia as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission’s management plan to ensure flow across the border in coming months, reported The Advertiser (10/9/2007, p. 8).

River impassable to larger craft: "Within weeks State Cabinet will consider plans for Adelaide’s first desalination plant to reduce reliance on the river," The Advertiser reported. "The river flow has been checked at Lock 7, between Renmark and Mildura, reducing it to barely a trickle over the past week. A small channel on one side of the river allows for the passage of small boats through the lock but houseboats are unable to navigate the shallow waters."

September dry unusual: Riverland photographer Glenn Milne said "a couple of garden hoses" would squirt more water past the lock. "There’s a huge sand bar that’s three-quarters the way across the river and the rest of it is only very shallow," he said. Lock masters said the river bed often dried out in June when river flows were reduced but it was unusual for the river still to be dry in September when irrigation water usually was released.

Less than 25pc of monthly average flow: Monthly inflows into the River Murray had been below average for the past 23 months. In August, 360 gigalitres flowed into the river, compared with the long-term monthly average of 1570 gigalitres. The release of water from Hume reservoir has been as low as possible in winter.

The Advertiser, 10/9/2007, p. 8

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