Annual environmental water priorities in the Namoi catchment

With natural tributary inflows continuing, water managers will see how the year unfolds to determine the most appropriate use of water for the environment, but will likely focus on native fish recovery, especially in the Lower Namoi.

Priorities for 2021–22

In 2021–22, water managers in the Namoi will look for opportunities to help support the recovery of native fish populations, particularly below Wee Waa.

Riparian vegetation will be supported where regulated flows extend, and higher floodplain communities will benefit from recent overland flow and forecast flooding events. It is expected an improvement in the diversity and abundance of waterbirds will occur in response to natural flooding of flood runners (warrambools), high floodplain and riparian vegetation.

Outflow from the Namoi to the Barwon Darling will provide opportunities for native fish, particularly golden perch, to move in between these two river systems.

Further details on watering priorities for 2021–22 can be found in the Namoi Catchment – Water for the Environment: Annual Priorities (PDF 1.2MB).

Highlights from 2020–21

In February 2020, after 10 months of cease-to-flow conditions in the regulated Namoi, a low-pressure system brought flows to the entire Namoi–Peel catchment. These flows replenished water levels, refreshed water quality and boosted productivity. The flows supported riparian vegetation and inundated warrambools below Wee Waa.

Inundation of warrambools and higher floodplain has provided much awaited replenishment of soil profiles, enhancing survival and recruitment of flood-dependent plants like river red gums and coolabahs.

Productivity has been bolstered with nutrients entering the waterway from the land and converted into available food for native aquatic organisms. At the top of this food web are native fish whose population numbers severely declined during this recent drought.

The return of improved weather patterns has continued throughout 2021 with the Peel and Namoi catchments emerging from severe drought.