26 September 2023

Lower Darling flows resume

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The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has announced the lifting of temporary water restrictions for the Lower Darling River.

The Department said that as a result of recent rainfall across the northern NSW Murray-Darling Basin and subsequent inflows to the Barwon-Darling River system, it was anticipated that 290 to 380 gigalitres (GL) would flow into the Menindee Lakes.

“Based on the forecast, there will be enough water captured in the Menindee system to provide connectivity to the Murray and deliver high priority needs, including critical environmental needs along the Lower Darling for at least 12 to 18 months – possibly longer,” DPIE said.

“The repeal of the temporary water restriction will allow access to remaining water in high security and general security accounts in 2019-20,” it said.

“This will not impact on the ability to supply water for critical needs.”

The Department said water releases to the Lower Darling River from Menindee Lakes began two weeks ago with releases now being held at 250 megalitres per day.

“This will create the pulse flow necessary to manage water quality and associated fish risks,” it said.

“These are the first significant flows to occur in the Lower Darling River since 2016.”

DPIE said that although the releases would provide substantial benefits to fish communities in the lower Darling, there was the risk that when flows first enter the refuge pools there may be a short-term risk and resulting fish deaths from the initial turn-over of poor quality water.

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