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Murray River Facts and Figures

Murray River Facts and Figures

The River Murray Basin of 1,057,000 square kilometres is about one-seventh of the total area of Australia and comprises three-quarters of New South Wales, over one-half of Victoria, a small portion of South Australia, and an area of Queensland greater than the total area of Victoria.

Of the above area, only five percent has an average rainfall in excess of 760 mm and nearly two-thirds normally supplies no water to the two trunks. The catchment of the upper Murray above Albury contributes more than one-quarter of the total flow in the Murray system, from an area which is less than two per cent of the catchment area.

The average rainfall over the Murray basin is 430 mm compared with an average of about 1270 mm in the Tennessee Valley, USA.

The grade or fall of the Murray varies from 14 cm per kilometre near Albury, to about 2.5 cm on the last 160 kilometres to the sea.

The highest point of the Murray watershed is Mount Kosciusko, with an altitude of 2231 metres.

Since gauging began at Swan Hill in 1909, the Murray ceased to flow at that point for short periods in 1914, 1915, and 1923. In April 1915 no flow was recorded for a whole month.

Since the Hume Reservoir was built in 1936 a flow has been maintained throughout the length of the Murray at all times, despite several severe drought periods.

The length of the Murray from its sources to its mouth is about 2560 kilometres, including 2185 kilometres below Albury. The Murray is continuously navigable for 1986 kilometres from Goolwa to Yarrawonga Weir. In this length there are thirteen weirs incorporating locks.


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