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Lake Menindee inlet open for inflow

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey recently announced that the Lake Menindee inlet is now open, allowing a significant flow of water into the lake system.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) welcomed the plan, under which between 650 and 850 GL of water will flow into the lakes in the Menindee system. The inflow is the most significant in five years.

The inflow is largely possible due to recent heavy rainfall and flooding in Southern Queensland and inland New South Wales. The Bureau of Meteorology has expected the flood peak to reach Wilcannia around late May.

The Menindee system is made up of nine lakes, and is located about 200 km upstream from the Darling River’s junction with the Murray River. It is an area of critical importance for First Nations people.

Recent drought has led to concerns from local Menindee communities about their water security, as well as management of water in the lake system, which is one of NSW’s most significant native fish breeding grounds. Advocates have argued that the lakes have been underserved by previous management decisions, when compared with lakes further downstream.

Once the Menindee Lakes have 640 GL of water, the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement requires the Authority to ensure the water is shared between New South Wales and Victoria. The New South Wales Government will resume sole management for the water in the lakes once levels drop back beneath 480 GL.