Warrego inflows reach NSW, no respite for Darling

Warrego inflows reach NSW, no respite for Darling

18 April 2019

March rainfall across the Warrego catchment in Queensland has made its way to NSW.

The major rainfall event in late March resulted in high flows moving down the Warrego River, with flows at Cunnamulla Weir in southern Queensland peaking at around 80,000 ML/day on 4 April.

WaterNSW will be closely monitoring the flows as they continue down the Warrego in coming weeks. However, hopes of these flows reaching the Darling and providing some relief for drought-ravaged communities between Louth and Menindee remain small.

Still, as northern NSW remains gripped by one of the most severe droughts on record all flows are welcome -- and this rainfall event will help prepare the northern tributaries to better catch any subsequent rain events.

As these recent flows work their way down the Warrego over coming weeks, they will provide significant environmental benefits. The Warrego River supports over 300,000 hectares of wetlands and branches out in to a number of anabranches, including connecting with the Paroo.

Flows have already been recorded Cuttaburra Creek, peaking at 20,000ML/d. Cuttaburra Creek flows into the Yantabulla Swamp, which covers over 37,000 hectares and has been identified as the most important water bird breeding site in north-west New South Wales.

Flows have also been recorded at Barringun, on the NSW-Queensland border -- and the river is still rising.

While these flows are providing significant environmental benefits along the Warrego, based on previous events of this size very little of the water is expected to reach the Darling due to the flat terrain and the extensive wetlands on the Warrego.

The last event of this size occurred in January/February of 2003. Flows peaked at Cunnamulla Weir at around 90,000 ML/day, with resultant peaks at Barringun of approximately 5000ML/d and 1000Ml/day at Fords Bridge, which is halfway between the Queensland border and the Darling River.

For those affected by drought, the WaterNSW early warning network (EWN) can send automated messages on dam releases and river information. To register to receive information via the EWN contact – 1300 662 077

For WaterNSW drought management information visit: www.waternsw.com.au/supply/drought-information

Contact: Tony Webber, 0428 613 478

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