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Lake Hume, the 20,000-hectare body of water that resulted from the damming of the Mitta Mitta and Murray river near Albury, was a project that took seven years to build and when finished in 1936, was the largest dam in the southern hemisphere and one of the biggest in the world.
To say it is a huge body of water is an understatement as water retained upstream through both the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers stretches over 40 kilometres, and is a haven for water sports, fishing and camping.
As early as the 1860’s, landholders of the Riverina had discussed flood mitigation options but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that work begun on a solution to better manage the seasonal flows of the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers.
In 1919, work started on damming the Murray River just downstream from its junction with the Mitta Mitta. The Hume dam, completed in 1936, was the biggest in the southern hemisphere at the time and the resultant reservoir retained water extending 40 km upstream from the dam and covered 20,000+ hectares.
Originally designed to hold 1,500 Gigalitres, Lake Hume’s capacity was doubled in the late 1950s to capitalise on the increased flow that resulted from the Snowy Hydro Scheme; the increase was primarily due to the tunnelled diversion of the Snowy River to the western side of the Great Dividing Range.
Lake Hume, which was named in honour of the explorer Hamilton Hume, is currently at around 40% capacity and while it may look good, it is considered low... but a lot better than the <10% of a few years back.