Darling River and Menindee Lakes transformed into satellite images | Goondiwindi Argus
Much can change in a year – as seen in satellite images of the Darling River and Menindee Lakes, both in western New South Wales, taken in March 2020 and April 2021.
The fortune of the Outback River has gone from dry desperation to abundant flows in just over 12 months.
Darling’s boom and bust nature is nothing new to those who live along its banks, but that doesn’t diminish the joy felt when the river flows high after years of drought, or the anxiety. felt by downstream users, wondering how much will get to them.
WaterNSW has predicted that up to 1350 gigaliters of input from the northern basin watersheds will reach Bourke, while 1100GL could reach Wilcannia and 1000GL towards Menindee.
WaterNSW said the significant increase in predicted flows into Menindee was due to the volume of water entering Barwon-Darling from the floodplains around Collarenebri and Walgett.
Samantha Mooring and her husband Garry live at Rose Isle Station, between Bourke and Louth.
The water peaked at Rose Isle last week, with over 37,500 megaliters per day and the height of the river above 10 meters.
Ms Mooring said the water was gently breaking the banks of the river – filling their creeks but not causing large-scale riverbank flooding or even blocking their route to Bourke.
“You couldn’t ask for better,” Ms. Mooring said.
“It’s fantastic, it just cleans the river, flushes out the salt and the algae thrives.”
It’s a huge change from the start of last year when she said they could ride their bikes on the Darling in Louth.
Further downstream, at Kallara Station, Tilpa, Justin McClure said there were nearly 30,000 ml passing their front door.
“It gives us the ability to put water in our dam for our pivots,” he said.
“It also pushed the spirit of the community endlessly.
“It makes life a little more difficult, but we don’t see it as a burden because of where we come from – two or three years of drought.”
Mr McClure said nine years had passed since their last high river in 2012.
It is not fair that there is no consideration for those at the bottom of the watershed.
Justin McClure, Kallara Station, Tilpa
He argued that downstream targets should be put in place to ensure a fair share of water for all communities living along the river.
“A community in Pooncarie, or Wilcannia or Bourke, should have just as much right to water,” he said.
“It’s not fair that there is no consideration for those at the bottom of the watershed.”
Trigger point of the Menindee lakes reached
The Menindee Lakes trigger point of 640GL was reached with the total lake volume being 667GL on Sunday.
According to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, water is now partly owned by Victoria and the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) can order discharges on behalf of basin states to meet downstream demand.
An MDBA statement last week said state governments are demanding that the MDBA maximize the total volume of water available in the Murray River system.
“This means that water is often drawn from Menindee Lakes rather than other reservoirs such as the Hume and Dartmouth Dams, which have lower evaporation and infiltration rates,” the statement said.
MDBA’s acting chief executive, Andrew Reynolds, said it would consider community needs and improving environmental outcomes, as well as the needs of downstream water users who order water.
“Given the current state of the river system, significant water discharges are not likely from the Menindee Lakes until late spring or summer, although we will continue to assess this,” said Mr. Reynolds.
“If conditions are dry in the coming weeks, that could change with increasing demand for water, but the volume required by the Menindee Lakes States under this circumstance would be relatively small.”
The last time the lakes were shared between New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia ended in December 2017, when levels fell below 480 gigaliters.
- Earth chose satellite images of March 2020 because the dates of April 2020 had cloud cover.