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Environmental watering in the Lower Darling river 2013-14

Status

31 March 2014: This action is completed.

About the watering

Commonwealth environmental water being released from the Lake Cawndilla regulator. Photo: Richard McLoughlin, Department of the Environment.

Commonwealth environmental water will be used to maintain ecological health and resilience of the Darling Anabranch system. Up to approximately 47 GL of Commonwealth environmental water will contribute to in-channel flows within the Darling Anabranch during spring to reconnect residual pools within the Anabranch, and provide through-flows to the Murray River.

The Darling Anabranch is located in south-western NSW, extending approximately 460 kilometres from its junction with the Darling River south of Menindee, to the Murray River downstream of Wentworth. The channel of the Darling Anabranch is broad, contains many deep holes and is connected to a complex network of channels. The main native plant communities are river red gum, lignum and river cooba in the riparian zone. River red gums occur on areas that receive water more regularly, and are particularly common in the area upstream of the junction with the Murray River.

The watering action will contribute to river flows to achieve the following expected outcomes:

  • support the dispersal of plants and animals residing in refuge pools along the Great Darling Anabranch, enabling fish, such as Murray cod and golden perch, to disperse, and potentially reconnect with populations in the River Murray
  • support improved condition of riparian and floodplain native plants, particularly river red gums that line parts of the channel
  • provide habitat for native birds and other animals such as frogs
  • enable the transfer of nutrients and energy between the Anabranch and the Murray River, supporting both longitudinal connectivity (i.e. connectivity along a watercourse) and lateral connectivity (i.e. connectivity between the river channel and riparian zones).

This watering action has been made possible by the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders including the State Water Corporation, NSW Office of Water, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, local water users and landholders.