Tandure transfer to Wetherell next as Darling dries

Tandure transfer to Wetherell next as Darling dries

23 January 2018

WaterNSW could begin pumping water from Lake Tandure into Lake Wetherell as soon as March if the prevailing drought conditions continue to dry the Darling River.

The Darling has all but ceased to flow from Walgett, and the Menindee lakes total storage is approaching just 21.6% of capacity. Under the WaterNSW Lower Darling Annual Operations Plan, the next step to conserve water in the absence of inflows is to pump water from Tandure to Wetherell.

Under a worst-case scenario of zero inflows, the WaterNSW Operations Plan ensures the Menindee lakes would still provide water for Lower Darling landholders and environment until at least December 2018, and provide supply to Broken Hill until at least August 2019.

Transferring water from the shallow Lake Tandure to the comparatively deeper Wetherell reduces the surface area of the water storage and thereby cuts evaporation losses.

Without significant inflows, the plan’s next major action would be transferring water from Lake Pamamaroo to Copi Hollow, with the construction of an earthen block bank to separate the two bodies of water.

WaterNSW has implemented a reduced release regime from the lakes to maximise supply to both the Lower Darling and Broken Hill.

Releases into the Lower Darling continue at a rate of ~200 megalitres per day (ML/day), with flows at Burtundy of 50ML/day. The operations plan will endeavour to maintain at least 20ML/day at Burtundy should drought conditions persevere over summer and beyond.

WaterNSW is in constant contact with the key Lower Darling advisory group of landholders to ensure that a minimal flow is maintained without exceeding the agreed target flow.

Ensuring water quality and maintaining acceptable salinity levels are also integral components of the operations plan.

Download a full copy of the drought operations plan (PDF, 1441.02 KB).

Contact: Tony Webber

Phone: 0428 613 478


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Sunday 26 January