Border Rivers

Border Rivers 
Drought Stage

Stage 1 - Normal management

Stage 1 normal operations eased from Stage 2 recovering in late March 2021 - de-escalated from Stage 3 severe on 14 August 2020 and Stage 4 critical on 23 March 2020.

Storage Level
  • Pindari Dam at 49% (152 GL) of active capacity compared to 5% (17 GL) on 1 July 2019.
  • Glenlyon Dam at 51% (129 GL) compared to 8% (21 GL) on 1 July 2019.
Allocations
  • Small 7.3% A class general security allocation announced on 1 July 2020, and further progressive increases to 64.6% in November 2020, but zero for B Class. Although A class likely to be increased to 100% and B class to at least 40% later in April 2021.
  • Zero allocation for general security A and B class for 2019/20, and 50% of carryover water suspended until 25 February 2020 when suspension fully lifted.
  • Last general security B class allocation made in January 2018.
  • Full allocations announced for high priority and high security licence holders in 2019/20 and 2020/21, although delivery of water remains limited.
Action
  • Environmental water was released in April 2018 (4.3 GL), and again in 2019 (7.4 GL) from Glenlyon Dam to replenish waterholes for native fish along the river and into the Barwon-Darling as part of the Northern Fish Flow. This was done in conjunction with releases from Copeton Dam in the Gwydir.
  • Further environmental water was released in late December 2020 of 2.9 GL to top up waterholes along the Border and into the Barwon Rivers.
  • Priority in 2019/20 and again in 2020/21 is to provide for town water supplies, with flows provided in block releases or supply via run of the river flows. Block release for 2020/21 from Pindari Dam commenced on 17 December 2020 and was completed on 3 January 2021.
  • Final dam releases for 2019/20 were made in the Border Rivers to Boggabilla Weir for Boggabilla and Goondiwindi town water supplies in December 2019. Subsequent tributary inflows continued to replenish town water weirs.
  • Restrictions on access across the Northern Basin in January/February 2020 to protect flows for critical needs. These were lifted in the Border Rivers towards the end of February.
  • Some supplementary access has been permitted.
  • Environmental transparency releases (a set volume of inflows) re-commenced in September 2020.
  • Environmental stimulus release from Pindari Dam occurred in October 2020 – total of 4.4 GL
Issues
  • Dam releases were not able to be made to reach Mungindi in December 2019. However, Mungindi weir pool filled following flows in February 2020 and continued rainfall since.
  • Some fish kills in November 2019 as a result of runoff from bushfire affected areas.
  • Fish deaths in Macintrye and Severn Rivers in January/early February 2020 as a result of short sharp rise in river flows.
  • Pindari low level valve maintenance work prevented transparent releases since December 2019, but resumed from September 2020. Undelivered amount is being added to Pindari releases.
Outlook
  • Storages increased substantially as a result of rainfall in March 2021 and caused flooding in some areas
  • Critical demand for the towns of Ashford and Boggabilla are secure for at least 2 years.
  • Full A class general security allocations and at least 40% B Class allocations are expected later in April 2021 once the Border Rivers Commission has confirmed State shares.