Lower Darling releases start as Pamamaroo continue

Lower Darling releases start as Pamamaroo continue

27 March 2020

WaterNSW has commenced releasing water from weir 32 into the Lower Darling, a return to continuous river flows for the first time since December 2018, as large volumes of water continue pouring into Lake Wetherell.

With estimates now predicting Menindee lakes could receive between 290-355 gigalitres (GL) in the weeks ahead, exceeding what can be stored in Lake Wetherell, WaterNSW has commenced the transfer of up to 100GL into Lake Pamamaroo to optimise the efficient storage of water.

The releases into the Lower Darling are the first replenishment flow deliberately sent down the drought-struck stretch of river since weir 32 releases ceased in February 2019. The releases commenced following confirmation that two of four block banks have now been successfully removed.

The releases will be scaled up to a rate of 3000 megalitres per day (ML/day) in coming days and held there for approximately a week to push lower quality water through the system and mitigate environmental impacts, though fish kills are regrettably anticipated.

Releases will then be scaled back to a rate of approximately 350ML/day with modelling confirming there is sufficient water to provide constant flow for the Lower Darling for at least 12 months, while restocking town water supply for Menindee and Pooncarie, as well as urgent stock and domestic access for landholders.

Work to remove block banks, installed in July 2018 to provide emergency drought supply, is progressing with the structures at Karoola and Court Nareen now dismantled and work set to commence to remove a third temporary earthen weir at Jamesville in the coming days.

The Barwon-Darling River reached Menindee lakes on 10 March after major north-west rain events generated large flows that are now being bolstered by water from Queensland arriving down the Culgoa/Bokhara system and the Warrego river.

These flows also replenished town water supplies at communities such as Walgett, Brewarrina, Bourke, Louth, Tilpa and Wilcannia, as well as providing much-needed stock and domestic water to many hundreds of farm families along the way.

For information on WaterNSW’s drought management contact 1300 662 077

Media contact: Tony Webber 0428 613 478.


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