Hume and Dartmouth Dam Operations Review
Client: Murray-Darling Basin Commission
In the late 1990s, growing concerns from downstream landholders over the operation of Hume and Dartmouth Dams led the MDBC to establish an independent review of the operation of these dams.
DG Consulting’s Garry Smith (who was at that time working for Goulburn-Murray Water) was appointed as the Victorian representative on the review panel. The review objectives were to identify changes to operating rules that could better meet the competing objectives of water supply, environmental enhancement and flood mitigation.
The review panel identified potential issues that needed to be considered. This involved a substantial issues identification process, including field visits and consultation from Dartmouth Dam to the Murray mouth. Issues were assessed for relevance and the development and assessment of options were developed and assessed in relation to their ability to address the issues.
This project was a major multi-disciplinary study, with review panel members including representatives of interest groups including local government, environment, agriculture, tourism and recreation, aboriginal interests and water supply agencies.
The final report recommended an integrated whole of system approach, with an integrated waterway and floodplain management program for key river reaches. The report also identified the acquisition of flood easement s between Hume and Yarrawonga as a key tool for improved environmental flows and flood damage mitigation. The report also identified the potential for improved rates of pre-release for flood mitigation and better environmental flow release regimes, particularly in relation to maximising the benefits of Barmah Forest environmental water entitlements.