The Intersecting Streams arise in Queensland and flow across the border into New South Wales. These streams include the Narran, Bokhara, Culgoa, Warrego and Paroo rivers and key wetland systems including the Ramsar-listed Narran Lakes, Paroo Wetlands and Yantabulla Swamp. The river systems are located on a series of semi-arid floodplains and are fed by rainfall in the central and western areas of Queensland.
Flows in these river systems are intermittent and unregulated, and flow events are typically associated with southern summer monsoonal weather systems.
The focus of water managers in 2019–20, with an expected very dry to dry resource availability scenario as identified in the Intersecting Streams Catchment Annual Environmental Watering Priorities 2019–20, was to minimise unrecoverable loss of ecological assets and functionality.
Flows in early 2020
The 2019–20 water year was generally hot and dry. The Moonie, Culgoa, Narran, Birrie, Bokhara, and Paroo rivers experienced cease-to-flow conditions. Above average rainfall upstream of St George through February and March 2020 resulted in a large flow entering the Culgoa, Birrie, Bokhara and Narran rivers from the Lower Balonne.
These flows in the Intersecting Streams system in early 2020 included:
- flows generated from rainfall within Queensland that reached Narran Lakes in early March 2020, which included water from Commonwealth held environmental water in Queensland, providing the first significant water to the wetland system since 2013
- flows in the Paroo River that inundated parts of the Paroo Wetlands Ramsar site
- flows in the Warrego system that extended through Toorale National Park and State Conservation Area in late 2019 and from March 2020 – use of Commonwealth held environmental water produced flows into the Darling River and onto the western floodplain
- inflows into the Culgoa, Birrie, Bokhara and Moonie rivers in early 2020, which provided connection to the Barwon River.