Peak flow at Bourkeand Bre over Christmas


The river’s rising and the fish are biting! Jerekai Payne and Tristan Reay fishing at North Bourke on Sunday. Photo TWH

WaterNSW System Operations Manager, Adrian Langdon. PHOTO TWH

After massive rainfall around northern NSW and southwest Queensland, a big river, with possible flooding, is expected along the Barwon Darling River throughout December and January.

Flows in the Macintyre, Gwydir, Namoi, and Macquarie-Castlereagh-Bogan Rivers are expected to create flooding in the Barwon-Darling Rivers running up to Christmas and beyond.

Queensland tributaries like the Culgoa-Balonne system and the Warrego and Paroo Rivers have also been in flood.

According to WaterNSW, peak flows are expected to reach Walgett around December 15, and peak at Brewarrina just a week before Christmas at 24,000 megalitres per day. The Darling at Bourke is expected to peak and create a peak at 9.5 metres, or 30,000 megalitres a day just before New Year.

These flows, from the Queensland border to the Menindee Lakes, are the largest in a decade, flooding communities, inundating homes, ruining crops and filling storages to capacity.

While it is a welcome end to the long years of drought and a boon for some communities, for others it has been disaster.

WaterNSW’s Executive Manager System Operations, Adrian Langdon, said the flows being seen now were the highest in a decade and it was unusual to see every major storage in NSW filled and spilling.

“In some ways it’s a mixed feeling, coming out of drought not long ago when you could stand on the bed of Keepit Dam which was at one per cent,” Mr Langdon said.

“Now we’re spilling, so in many ways it’s good to have water again, but farmers and communities are feeling the pain of flood, so this is something we need to consider.

I was talking to farmers this week whose crops were under water, and after recovering from drought and then losing crops to floodwaters, it’s very difficult.


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