Big increases in water storages
Water Storages up 24%
The volume of water in Australia's storages has rocketed by 20% since the beginning of winter 2010. Above average rainfall and floods in many parts of Australia saw the volume of water rise by 18 million megalitres. However rain never falls equitably and the impact on storages differs significantly across the country.
Storages fill in eastern states
Each of the eastern states recorded increased storage volumes compared to the same time last year. Frequent heavy rain events in late 2010 and early 2011 led to widespread flooding across eastern Australia. December saw big rises in Queensland's storage volumes in a number of systems including the Callide and Upper Burnett.
Significant rainfall events in southeast Queensland in the second week of January caused major flooding in the Brisbane River catchment and resulted in a sharp rise in the volume of water temporarily contained in Wivenhoe (using the capacity available for flood mitigation).
Northern Victoria experienced moderate to major flooding in early September that increased storage volumes in systems such as the Loddon, and individual storages north of the Dividing Range. January brought further flooding in the Loddon and Campaspe catchments with both experiencing record flood peaks and full storages.
Wettest spring on record for Murray-Darling
The Murray-Darling Basin received more than double its historical spring rainfall, making it the wettest spring on record. After recording almost the same storage volume in the Murray-Darling Basin during the summers of 2009 and 2010, the volume in summer 2011 has more than doubled.
Driest winter on record for southwest WA
However, while storage volumes in the eastern states increased, volumes in much of Western Australia remained in decline. In particular, the southwest of Western Australian experienced a very dry year in 2010, recording its driest winter on record. Perth's water supply system recorded almost no winterfill in 2010. It is now around 20% full, as shown in the chart below.