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In response to the ongoing public health emergency and to support social distancing measures, ALL WaterNSW Dams and Recreation areas will be closed to public access until further notice. We hope all our community members remain safe at this time. When full they hold three and half times as much water as Sydney Harbour. Today the lakes supply water to Broken Hill, meet irrigation, stock and domestic needs of landholders between Menindee and Wentworth, and supplement the River Murray system.
There are many vantage points around the lake system with views of the lakes, flooded gums, outback scenery and birdlife. Open 24 hours a day, all year round. Phone 08 Explore Aboriginal and pastoral history at Kinchega National Parksite of historic Kinchega Station which in coveredhectares and ransheep. The lakes are a popular spot for all water sports including skiing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing and swimming.
Several boat ramps are available. The Menindee Lakes system is located on the Darling River about kilometres upstream of its junction with the River Murray at Wentworth. The town of Menindee is next to the lakes and Broken Hill is kilometres north-west.
Menindee Lakes storage comprises four main lakes — Cawndilla, Menindee, Pamamaroo and Wetherell — and several smaller lakes with a combined capacity of 1, megalitres, three and half times the capacity of Sydney Harbour. The lakes were originally a series of shallow natural depressions that filled during floods and then drained back into the Darling River. During drought, the lakes would dry up. In the s and s the NSW Government built a series of weirs, levees and canals to capture and retain floodwaters, and regulate the release of water downstream.
A more reliable source of water was needed for domestic and mining needs in Broken Hill, and for irrigation, stock and domestic use on the lower Darling River.
Work began in on the concrete spillway, weirs, two inlet regulators, four outlet regulators, levees and channels. Major works were completed inwith final completion in The main weir on the Darling River raises the water to 12 metres above river bed level and forms Lake Wetherell.
Water can then flow under gravity, even during low flow conditions, from Lake Wetherell downstream into Lakes Pamamaroo, Menindee and Cawndilla. A gauge downstream of Menindee at weir 32 is used to measure the total release into the lower Darling River. Releases can also be made from Lake Cawndilla for supplying environmental flows along the Great Darling Anabranch.
The lakes have a nominal full supply volume of 1, megalitres but can be surcharged above this level within certain constraints to a total volume of 2, megalitres. The combined surface area of the four lakes when full is approximately square kilometres. The lakes are very shallow and are in a hot, windy and dry area, which means evaporation is very high.
The lakes lose on average about gigalitres of water to evaporation every year. To see past notifications, please visit all dam notifications. Skip to a section on the page. Search toggle Home Contact us Alerts and updates Search this site:. Insights Portal Real-time data WaterLive. Status Closed to Public. Lookout points There are many vantage points around the lake system with views of the lakes, flooded gums, outback scenery ghost recon breakpoint map icons legend birdlife.
The Menindee experience Things to see and do 1. Kinchega National Park Explore Aboriginal and pastoral history at Kinchega National Parksite of historic Kinchega Station which in coveredhectares and ransheep. Water sports The lakes are a popular spot for all water sports including skiing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing and swimming. Fishing Fishing opportunities include Murray cod, silver perch, catfish and European carp.The Darling River is the longest river in Australia and flows for about 2, kilometres from its upper catchment in the Great Dividing Range to its junction with the Murray River in south-western NSW.
This information focuses on the unregulated section of the catchment comprising the Barwon and Darling Rivers upstream of the Menindee Lakes. The NSW catchment upstream of Menindee is approximatelysquare kilometres, or aroundsquare kilometres if excluding the major tributaries.
The major township and mining centre of Broken Hill is also in the catchment. Downstream of the Culgoa junction the river becomes the Darling. The Warrego and Paroo Rivers are the only significant tributaries that join the Darling River downstream of Bourke, and these flow into the river only during major flooding.
Downstream of Wilcannia the Darling River flows into the Menindee Lakes Scheme, a series of seven large, shallow lakes that have been modified for water storage. The department monitors the condition of river systems in NSW and provides regular updates on water levels, rainfall, water temperature and electrical conductivity.
View real time data from the Barwon-Darling. The Barwon-Darling is considered an unregulated river above the Menindee Lakes. While there are a number of major headwater storages in its tributaries, including the Border Rivers, Gwydir, Namoi, and Macquarie catchments, these dams are too far upstream to regulate flow in the Barwon-Darling River.
There are many weirs, however, in the Barwon-Darling that have a major influence on water quality and water supply for users along the river. Water users along the Barwon-Darling rely on the river for town water supply, livestock grazing, and irrigated agriculture including cotton, citrus, grapes, and vegetables. The cotton and citrus industries in the catchment are significant users.
NSW and Queensland manage the catchment's cross border systems. Sharing water resources between the states and supply consumptive and environmental needs are a key water management issues. Parts of the Barwon-Darling catchment were in severe drought from to River flows during this time reached record lows and extraordinary water sharing arrangements were implemented to secure water supplies for towns and critical water-dependent industries.
Securing enough water for critical human needs during drought, while protecting riverine health is a key challenge. In contrast the first few months inand saw major flood flows enter the system.
The alteration of the river's natural flow regime through the construction of weirs, and water extraction affects riverine health contributing to water quality problems, such as salinity and algal blooms. The Talyawalka Lakes are a series of 19 large overflow lakes fed by Talyawalka Creek, a high level anabranch that leaves the Darling River near Wilcannia. Although not often full, the Talyawalka Lakes are of national significance for their waterbird habitat.
The sinuous nature of the Barwon-Darling River has resulted in the formation of many small lagoons and anabranches along its length. These provide valuable local wetland habitat after floods.
To preserve water resources in river and groundwater systems for the long term it is critical to balance the competing needs of the environment and water users. Water sharing plans establish rules for sharing water between the environmental needs of the river or aquifer and water users, and also between different types of water use such as town supply, rural domestic supply, stock watering, industry and irrigation.The river has always been one of extreme, either in flood or in drought.
That is the nature of the Darling River and provides the ethereal majesty of our most iconic river. Early European exploration, of the land and river, created the need for towns and ports along the water and today the towns of the Darling River have become synonymous with the outback. From the source to the mouth of the Darling River, they include.
The Darling River is 1, km long when measuring it is a named river from the junction of the Culgoa and Barwon rivers between Brewarrina and Bourke. These tributaries include the Balonne River, the Macintyre River. Yes, the Darling River has stopped flowing many times throughout history and pre-history.
The Darling River system consists of over ten tributaries with the Upper Darling River Barwon-Darling being a complex waterway made up of many individually named waterways.
The First Nation people have an extended, living, cultural association with the Darling River, although they knew it as the Barka, and those most closely associated with the river are the Barkintji meaning people of the river. Evidence reveals that indigenous history goes back over 45, years, and today, the river remains the lifeblood for their living culture. Evidence of its importance to the Indigenous cultures can be seen along the length of the waterway and probably the most visual are the fish traps at Brewarrina, to the most spiritual at the world's oldest ritual burial ground at Lake Mungo.
In between there is a vast array of historical and sacred sites, For centuries the river had been home, fishing and hunting ground and trade route to the Aboriginal groups. The relative newcomers to the area, European explorers, set out to find the fabled 'inland sea', believing that the rivers of eastern Australian all ran into a vast inland sea. The early explorers were correct in thinking there was an inland sea, but they were about 50 million years too late as the climate was vastly different during the Cretaceous period when in fact the centre of Australia was a vast inland sea.
The 'Wild West' was a frontier for European settlement in the 19th century and cattlemen began to carve out vast stations and forged stock routes to the major commercial centres of Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. But the challenge faced by the pastoral pioneers was how to access these commercial centres via road transport which at the time was not well established.
Many realised, and hoped, the river transport could further open up the outback and provide a vital link from the farm gate to the shipping ports of Adelaide and Melbourne that would provide transportation to England.
The dream began to become a reality when in a riverboat called Gemini skippered by William Randell reached Brewarrina formerly known as 'Walcha Hut' and earlier as 'Fishery'and with this first successful navigation of the Darling River, the potential for it to become a major transport route was realised. By the late 's Wentworth was Australia's busiest inland port.
Darling River Water Levels & Flow
Invessels passed through the Customs House 31 in one week alone. By the early s a new and more reliable form of transport, railways, was spreading inland.
The days of the riverboats and ports were numbered. Today, the Darling River is still an integral part of the outback, indigenous culture and pioneering history. Attempts are being made to manage this wonderful resource better, so it is available for not only the farmers and indigenous cultures who rely on it but also those who enjoy it recreationally.
Inthe Darling River suffered from severe cyanobacterial bloom that stretched the length of the river. The presence of phosphorus was essential for the toxic algae to flourish. Flow rates, turbulence, turbidity and temperature were other contributing factors. The purchase allowed the government to return eleven gigalitres of environmental flows back into the Darling.
The drought of is being compared to the Federation drought of the early s, the most severe in recorded history. And like it has done so many times before, in March ofeastern Australia experienced one of its biggest and widest dumps of rain in living memory. The drought that had such a tight grip on the country was doused with lifesaving rainfall over a few days over the first week of March.
The Darling River had been 'rebooted', and the long, harsh drought for most is now in the history book. As a waterway, as measured from its longest tributary to its mouth at Wentworth, the Darling is Australia's longest at 2,km.
The Darling River catchment is relatively flat have a gradient of just 16mm per metres and the river proper begins between Brewarrina and Bourke at the confluence of the Culgoa and Barwon rivers.Tue 22 Jan These fish had survived the millennium drought of the late s.
Yet here they are dying. Each morning Graeme McCrabb and his mates patrol the river banks, looking for signs that another catastrophic event is about to occur — an event they argue is man-made. Temperatures are forecast to be over 40C again this week and there is sense of foreboding as the river levels continue to dwindle, the water an ugly shade of bright green due to algal blooms. Four enormous cod, each about 80cm in length, rest near a shallow sandbank at the lip of the pool, trying to catch the more oxygenated water from the almost imperceptible flow into it.
They hardly move. This is extremely unusual behaviour for these native fish, which are classified as a vulnerable species. People can go their whole lives without seeing these shy mottled green giants that hide in waterholes, and under logs, but here they are literally gasping for oxygen. The NSW minister responsible for fisheries, Niall Blair, did visit but toured the river by boat and did not meet locals, citing safety concerns. He wants to mount a rescue mission, and move them to a larger body of water, but neither man is sure the fish will survive.
A town of just over people, it is a pint-sized example of how resources and infrastructure can drive the fortunes of a town up and down. The Darling has always been an ephemeral river, but old timers insist that it is running dry for longer under the Murray-Darling Basin plan. It will almost certainly result in a dry river south of the lakes becoming the norm most years.
With a kind of Kafka-esque logic, the Menindee Lakes project is about delivering more environmental water to the Murray Darling river system, by reducing evaporation from the lakes. But it will leave the lower Darling drier more often, cutting off the Murray from the Darling and leading to unknown environmental consequences for fish, bird and land-based wildlife that depend on the river.
Until now, most of the water retrieved under the Murray-Darling Basin plan for environmental flows has come from buying water rights back from irrigators. But with two-thirds of the target achieved so far, most of the easier deals have been done. NSW has put forward the Menindee Lakes project as its major contribution. It says it can save up to GL by cutting evaporation from the lakes system. The impact of changed water practices under the Murray Darling Basin plan is obvious in Menindee.
Menindee table grapes were once famous but with the dwindling river, Costa Group, a major agribusiness, made the decision in the s to abandon production and consolidate in more reliable parts of the river system. The buyout meant there was even less reason to send water down the Darling.
There were informal talks with engineers, but there was never a formal business case put to council.
The River Murray system
The pipeline means that there is no longer any reason to keep a mandated amount of water in the Menindee Lakes to provide water for the people of Broken Hill, as has occurred to date.
But the Menindee Lakes project will go much further. It is proposing to reset the threshold for the lakes from GL to 80GL, which is just a fraction of the 1,GL the lakes can hold. This, says McCrabb, will cripple the tourist industry of Menindee. Sports fishing will also stop, he predicts. A report by consultants Deloitte contains six options to provide alternative water for towns that will be affected in the km stretch of river between Bourke and Wentworth.
This will affect several hundred graziers and their families and the towns of Wilcannia, Menindee and Pooncarie. Department of Primary Industries workers install aerators in the Darling River in a bid to keep fish alive. It says that alternative infrastructure will be needed to replace the water supplies to homesteads and in the towns along the river.The weekly report provides updates on operations, river flows, storage inflows, gauge levels, rainfall and salinity data.Murray-Darling water buyback controversy explained - 7.30
MDBA office locations. Google Tag Manager. Skip to main content. Go to search page Search this site. Discover the Basin Rivers. Worth it. Learn about why the Murray—Darling Basin is so important to Australia. Catchments Discover more about the Basin in your region by exploring the catchments in the Basin.
Environment The Basin contains diverse ecosystems and a wide variety of plants and animals. Landscape Learn more about the Basin's landscape and diverse, complex environment. Atlas of Living Australia Explore our environmental and spatial data. Cultural flows Water is vital to Australia's First Nations. Basin Plan roll-out The Basin Plan The aim of the Basin Plan is to ensure that water is shared between all users, including the environment, in a sustainable way.
Sustainable diversion limits The Basin Plan sets a limit on how much water can be sustainably diverted within the Basin. Compliance and enforcement Compliance is an integral part of water management in the Murray—Darling Basin. Monitoring and evaluation Monitoring, evaluation and reporting is critical to understanding whether the Basin Plan is working and on track.
Water recovery Water recovery is the water that is being recovered for the environment. Northern Basin projects The northern Basin is a complex network of people and places, industries and organisations with many and varied needs. Climate variability and change Water management must be adaptive to the uncertain effects of climate variability and change.Forecasts are only available for sites displaying the forecast symbol.
MDBA office locations. Skip to main content. System view List view Map view About the data Help. Key: River gauge Storage Weirs. Accessibility Copyright Disclaimer Privacy. River Gauge. Albury Union Bridge. Not measured. Full data. Barmah Choke. Bringenbrong Bridge.
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Lock 6 Downstream.The main source of the Darling is usually considered to be the Severnwhich becomes successively the Dumaresq, Macintyre, Barwon, and, finally, the Darling. Discharge of the lower tributaries Culgoa, Warrego, Paroo, Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie, and Bogan of the main stream fluctuates as a result of droughts and floods. There are instances in which distributaries leave the main stream and disappear in inland basins.
Several, however, flow into salt flats and in wet years emerge to rejoin the parent stream. The Great Anabranch which leaves below the Menindee Lakes to join the Murray some mi later and the Talyawalka Anabranch which leaves the main stem near Wilcannia to rejoin the Darling roughly 80 mi downstream near Menindee are examples of these anastomosing distributaries i. The entire Darling system drains a ,sq-mi ,sq-km basin with an average annual discharge of 3, cu ft cu m per second at Menindee.
The river has an average gradient of 1 in. Headwaters of the Darling were gradually colonized by pastoralists from onward. He chanced first upon the Bogan and then, early inthe Darling main stream from the Barwon—Culgoa confluence.
In the latter part of the 19th century, the river was of importance to navigation, but waterborne traffic has long been superseded by the railway. The in. Thesq mi of the pastoral region are owned almost exclusively by wool growers with large holdings suited to grazing. Agriculture is possible only in small irrigated areas along the Darling; there is fodder cropping at Wilcannia, Bourkeand Brewarrina and grape and citrus farming further south in the Mallee region.
Several engineering projects have given the drainage area great potential for development. The Darling River Weirs Act of authorized construction of a series of dams to impound water in reservoirs that provide town water and support irrigation. The Menindee Lakes Storage Scheme, completed inhas created reservoirs with 1, ac-ft 1, cu m of water for irrigation and domestic use; by regulating the flow in the Lower Murray, the system also provides a more dependable irrigation supply in South Australia.
On the coastal tablelands and western slopes, a system of dams controls floods and allows for diversified agriculture and closer settlement than on the drier western plains. Darling River. Article Media. Info Print Cite.
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