The River Murray System
The 'River Murray system' is:
In its natural state the River Murray was quite different from the regulated river we have today. During severe droughts it was sometimes reduced to a chain of saline waterholes. In South Australia, sea water infiltrated upstream for a considerable distance from the mouth.
In most years, Adelaide draws more than 40% of its water from the Murray. During droughts such as that experienced in recent years, this dependence increases to more than 90%. Without our present system of river regulation, the population of Adelaide and many other cities and towns in the Murray Valley would be considerably smaller than they are today.
Since the completion of Hume Dam in 1936, a continuous flow has been maintained throughout the length of the Murray. Without storages and regulation, the Murray would almost certainly have ceased to run during the droughts of 1938-39, 1944-45, 1967-68, 1982-83 and 1997-98. The drought conditions experienced in the last few years have shown that even with storages and regulation, extended dry climatic conditions could stop the Murray from flowing.
To regulate the river system, River Murray Water operates four major storages, sixteen weirs, five barrages and numerous other smaller structures.
To see detailed information, select a structure on the map.