26 September 2023

Dead fish in recent rain washup

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The Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) latest drought report reveals that fish deaths in waterways have continued despite recent rainfall due to the waterways being affected by ash and debris.

Executive Director of River Operations at MDBA, Andrew Reynolds said it was “a cruel twist but an unavoidable risk” that much-needed rain would contribute to fish fatalities.

“We have seen fish deaths in recent weeks in several locations under stress due to fires and the ongoing drought in the Macquarie River, the Namoi, Gwydir, Border Rivers, Barwon-Darling, Lachlan, Upper Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers, and the Lower Darling continues to be an area of concern,” Mr Reynolds said.

“Working with relevant State agencies, the MDBA is continuing to monitor the impacts on the Basin’s water quality and quantity.”

He said the recent rain had made little impact on overall Basin storage levels, which were at 27 per cent capacity.

“Though some catchments will see levels recover slightly over coming weeks, the total volume of water in Basin storages continued to decline over the past fortnight,” Mr Reynolds said.

“We really need a long period of above-average rainfall to break current drought conditions.”

He said threats to water quality continued, most notably from algal blooms, with reduced and no flow at many locations.

He said NSW sites with a blue-green algae red alert were the Wakool River at Stoney Crossing; Menindee Lakes at Lake Wetherell; Darling River at Louth; Bogan River at Gongolgon; Barwon River at Brewarrina; Namoi River downstream of Lake Keepit; Lake Cargelligo outlet; Burrendong Dam; Copeton Dam; Pindari Dam; Mehi River at Gundare; Macintyre River at Lake Inverell and the Macquarie River downstream of Burrendong Dam.

He named Victorian sites with a blue-green algae red alert as Tullaroop Reservoir, Lake Eppalock and Gum lagoon in the Torrumbarry Irrigation Area.

The MDBA’s latest drought update can be accessed at this PS News link.

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