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Darling in crisis

The Darling River at Bourke Wharf will drop below 3 metres in the next week. Photo: TWH

As we enter a long hot summer, with temperatures soaring to 45, the Darling River at Bourke continues to drop to unprecedented levels.

Salinity levels are rising, blue green algae has begun developing in weir pools, the river is completely dry in long stretches, with deep pools and weir pools depleting rapidly under a hot summer sun.

And former NSW Water Licensing Officer Allan Amos says that with no rain in sight, the town of Bourke could run out of water.

“No-one thinks about the possibility” says Allan “but unless we get rain soon the river could drop to lows that we haven’t seen for many years”.

Allan, who was based in Bourke in various Water Officer positions for 32 years, said the river level at Bourke is currently just over 3 metres – about 89 centimetres below the weir crest – and is continuing to fall at about 1 centimetre per day.

“In my 44 years in Bourke, the lowest river level was 2.81 metres on 3 January 1995.

“At that rate of fall and with no rain, 2.81 metres will be reached about 15th January 2019 – so there is a desperate need for a good flow down the river.

Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.

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