Issued: 26 October 2023
The Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) will now provide flood warnings for minor, moderate and major flood conditions for the River Murray in South Australia, aligning with the national warning service.
The South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES) will continue to provide impact-based flood warning advice for the entire River Murray in South Australia and messaging to local communities.
The warning service, which will come into effect on 26 October, has been developed in collaboration with the South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW), the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, SASES, SA Water and councils.
Planning for the transition was well underway prior to the 2022–23 River Murray flood but was put on hold while the agencies involved responded to the flood event.
The Bureau’s Kylie Egan, Manager Hazard Preparedness & Response in South Australia, said the changes meant communities throughout the Murray-Darling Basin would all receive the same warning and forecasting service.
“A consistent, Basin-wide flood forecasting and warning service helps emergency services and local councils to continue to provide vital support to local communities when preparing for, and responding to flood events,” she said.
Warning information also would be consistent with the service the Bureau provided for other rivers and catchments in South Australia.
Ms Egan said while residents and business owners in River Murray communities would still receive the same early warning information and advice from local emergency services, communities should stay updated with the latest forecasts and warnings via the BOM Weather app and the Bureau’s website.
“The BOM Weather app has warning notifications available for locations within 5km of a flood warning area,” she said.
“We recommend users activate notifications on the BOM Weather app to receive the latest warning information for your area. This ensures you receive the information you need when you need it.
“You can view an area’s warnings at any time. Select the location in the BOM Weather app or view all current warnings from the app’s warnings screen.”
DEW Water Delivery Manager Chrissie Bloss said the department was pleased that River Murray communities could now access all flood forecasts and warnings from anywhere in the Basin through a single source.
“It is important that flood predictions and warnings can be accessed as easily as possible,” she said.
“We have worked closely with the Bureau in developing this new service and we are confident that River Murray communities will benefit from this new approach.”
Ms Bloss said that, in times of flood, DEW would continue to provide information on river conditions and flow forecasts in its weekly Flow Report and High Flow advice but would no longer publish forecast flood levels.
She said DEW would remain the source for flood mapping and that the department was updating its River Murray flood modelling to incorporate observations in river behaviour seen in the 2022–23 floods.
DEW will continue to provide flood forecasts for the Lower Lakes, as prediction of flood levels in the lakes is complex due to the influence of tide, weather, barrage operations and the condition of the Murray Mouth.
South Australian Flood warnings, and other flood information is available from:
– The Bureau’s website
– South Australia State Emergency Service – at www.ses.sa.gov.au and SASES social media platforms
– Department for Environment and Water River Murray flow reports within the South Australian section of the river
Your local council.