Annual environmental water priorities in the Barwon–Darling rivers

Water management in the Barwon–Darling rivers will focus on connecting the river to the Lower Darling downstream of Menindee Lakes and supporting the recovery of native fish populations.

Priorities for 2021–22

In 2021–22, water managers in the Barwon–Darling will support remaining populations of native fish. Water management will provide opportunities for fish to breed and disperse into refuge habitat, supplying food resources to native fish, as well as mussels, turtles, rakali and other aquatic and amphibious animals.

The recovery of native fish populations will be further supported if widespread rain across the northern basin persists, increasing the connection between the Barwon–Darling River and the Lower Darling, downstream of Menindee Lakes.

Further details on watering priorities for 2021–22 can be found in the Barwon–Darling Rivers – Water for the Environment: Annual Priorities (PDF 1.3MB).

Highlights from 2020–21

Extended periods of cease-to-flow have dominated the flow regime of the Barwon-Darling over the last 5 years. This changed in late 2020 when the river experienced substantial flows from Queensland and NSW tributaries, replenishing pools along its length, with significant flows reaching the Menindee Lakes system in April and May. 

Headwater storages have begun to recover with some looking like spilling early in the 2021–22 water year. Opportunities may arise for water managers to actively manage environmental releases to benefit the Barwon–Darling system in the coming year.