If you are planning a trip to Chowilla or Renmark in the next month, you will interested to know that a new plan is underway to drop the river level above Lock 6 from May 21st and above Lock 5 in June 2018. At this time of year, water levels would have dropped significantly before the weirs were put in 1920-35 to prevent natural drying out phases.
A news release from 18 May states:
“Department for Environment and Water (DEW) River Murray Water Operations Manager Jarrod Eaton said the water level will be gradually lowered by up to 20cm at Lock Six, and will be returned to normal by around mid-June. “The lowering forms part of water level variability trials to help restore more natural drying and wetting cycles to benefit the local riverine environment,” Mr Eaton said. “As always, water users around Lock Six should pay attention to hazard signs on the river and proceed carefully.”
It is expected that allowing riverbanks to dry out will encourage vegetation growth, provide feeding habitat for birds and help flush accumulated salt from floodplains.
Because the river and creeks are already at low pool level and expected to drop a further 20cm, consider how this could affect your kayaking route. We are interested to hear your findings because no-one has faced this kind of event before.