Management of March 2020 flow event

Significant rainfall at Bourke and surrounds in early March generated localised flows in the Warrego River. This flow, as well as local runoff, entered Boera Dam on Toorale shortly after. The event coincided with a flow in the Darling River.

In response, the National Parks and Wildlife Service opened the pipes at Boera Dam on 6 March 2020 so that water could flow down the Warrego River and into the Darling River. Because inflows exceeded the capacity of the existing pipes, water bywashed from Boera Dam into the Western Floodplain on Toorale, which is an area of significant ecological value. Flows across the western floodplain have also reach the Darling River for the first time in nearly a decade. The image below shows the first of the flow passing through the pipes at Boera Dam, looking downstream into the Warrego River. 

A larger flow event, generated by ex-tropical cyclone Esther, caused major flooding in the Queensland section of the Warrego River catchment. This flow entered New South Wales and flowed south through Toorale in mid-March. The peak rate and largest volumes reached Boera in late March.

The Darling River has now reconnected with the Murray River for the first time in 2 years. Productivity generated by the rain and river flows is now filtering through the river system carrying vital nutrients and food for the native animals and plants downstream.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder expects to account for both its Warrego and Darling rivers water access licences acquired with Toorale to deliver environmental outcomes in both rivers.

Pipes at Boera Dam discharging water down the Warrego River