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(Australian Associated Press)
The Murray-Darling Basin is expected to have a wetter than average winter, boosting hopes depleted water stocks can be replenished this year.
The basin authority’s latest drought update is based on climate and water data from the Bureau of Meteorology.
MDBA river management executive director Andrew Reynolds said higher winter flows were likely for the northern and southern basins.
“We’ve had some great falls this year which have primed catchments, but we need rain gauges to overflow a few more times before we can call this drought over,” he said on Wednesday.
If the predictions are correct, storage levels in the key Dartmouth and Hume dams, which were last full in 2016, could be replenished.
Between 435 and 475 gigalitres of water is expected to enter the Menindee Lakes in NSW from the Darling River over coming months.
“We’re very glad to be assisting the flows released into the lower Darling as they enter the Murray right now,” Mr Reynolds said.
Northern basin storage levels rose from 13 to 16 per cent in the past fortnight, while southern basin storages edged one point higher to 34 per cent.
“It was good to see Burrendong Dam, which supplies Dubbo, receive a major boost to now sit at 13 per cent capacity and Menindee Lakes is now 16 per cent after having been effectively empty at the beginning of the year,” Mr Reynolds said.