Annual environmental water priorities in the Border Rivers catchment

Water management in the Border Rivers catchment will focus on supporting native fish populations in the Severn, Dumaresq, Macintyre and upper Barwon rivers.

Priorities for 2020–21

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a shift toward wetter than average conditions and warmer than average temperatures through winter–spring 2020 in the Border Rivers catchment.

In 2020–21, water managers will focus their efforts on supporting native fish populations in the Severn, Dumaresq, Macintyre and upper Barwon rivers.

Access to water for the environment is limited in the catchment. The NSW Government works in partnership with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to manage available resources.

The Pindari Stimulus Flow is a small volume of planned water to support native fish that may be available for use if triggered by inflows into Pindari Dam. If the Pindari stimulus flow trigger is not met the flow will not be delivered unless it can be negotiated under rules in the new Water Sharing Plan.

Available held water for the environment may be used to provide a low connection flow along the Dumaresq and Macintyre–Barwon system to replenish pools if more water becomes available in the storages.

The management of water for the environment provides flexibility to respond to natural events that may occur during the year.

Further details on watering priorities for 2020–21 can be found in the Annual Environmental Watering Priorities 2020–21 (PDF 3.3MB).

Highlights from 2019–20

Following the Northern Fish Flow in April–June 2019 only small isolated flows were observed in the Border Rivers. The system disconnected from the Barwon River with flow deliveries downstream of Goondiwindi terminated. The storages, Glenlyon and Pindari, saw the lowest inflows on record. Due to these dry conditions the Pindari stimulus flow was not triggered for the 2019–20 season.

A flow was delivered from Glenlyon Dam to replenish Boggabilla Weir pool for town water supply in September 2019. Following this, in November 2019, deliveries were deemed not viable from Glenlyon Dam. Delivery of minimum daily flow requirements continued from Pindari Dam however these only maintain flow to Ashford.

Significant rainfall in February and March 2020 resulted in uncontrolled flow events which saw the system reconnected and flows connecting to the Barwon River. Under the Water Sharing Plan rules 25% of these flows were protected from supplementary access and further protection was achieved under a Section 324 order. Flows have largely been maintained across the Border Rivers by subsequent smaller rainfall events and continued tributary inflows.