Border Rivers Food & Fibre

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Our Water Resources

Some common misconceptions:

    1. That the size of the resource in the northern basin is similar to that in the south.
    2. That rivers all over the Basin flow all the time.
    3. That most of the water in the northern tributaries should make it to the Murray.
    4. That the amount of storage in the north is larger than that in the south.
    5. That northern systems use a far greater proportion of their resources.
    6. That the environment has been sacrificed for agriculture and particularly irrigation.

 

These CSIRO and MDBC statistics show the true situation.

 

    1. Proportions of the Basin: This map illustrates quite well the extent of water availability across the Basin. The thickness of the line indicates the size of the resource in that river.

2.   Flow Variation: The rivers in the north of the Basin are extremely variable in their flow patterns. If it were not for the building of dams and weirs during the late 20th century most of the northern rivers would spend the majority of the time dry, reducing the possibility of permanant habitation and greatly reducing permanant agricultural production of any type.

3.   Delivery Efficiencies: This table illustrates the extent of the natural losses occurring in the rivers of the MDB and the amount each stream contributes to flows at points downstream.

It is apparent that streams in the Darling system losses are much greater than the southern connected streams. This is accounted for by the periodic and episodic interval of flows, the longer distance for water to travel, the naturally porous geology and high evaporation rates due to high summer temperatures.

 

4.  Storage Infrastructure: This shows that in the southern basin all water storage infrastructure is publically owned. In the northern basin the storage capacity is much smaller, public storage is a smaller proportion and in some valleys, non-existant. Privately owned storage capacity is a major feature of the northern basin because of the episodic interval between flows and the much greater variability in flow volumes.

5. Relative Levels of Water Use: This chart shows the median percentages of water extracted from the streams in the Basin.

6. Environmental Health: Table from the Summary of The Murray Darling Basin Commission Sustainable Rivers Audit May 2008.

This table ranked all rivers in the basin on the basis of the health of the riverine environment studied between 2004 to 2007. Border Rivers is ranked second overall behind the Paroo, which has practically no extraction for irrigation..

This result reflects that even during an extreme drought period, our water planning processes and farm management practices are delivering the results required of them in terms of environmental health.

 

Condition

Rank

Valley

Ecosystem

Health

Hydrology

Fish

Macro-invertebrates

1

Paroo

Good

Good

Moderate

Moderate

2

Border Rivers

Moderate

Moderate to good

Moderate

Moderate

2

Condamine

Moderate

Moderate to good

Moderate

Poor

3

Namoi

Poor

Good

Poor

Poor

3

Ovens

Poor

Good

Poor

Poor

3

Warrego

Poor

Good

Poor

Poor

4

Gwydir

Poor

Moderate to good

Poor

Poor

5

Darling

Poor

Poor

Poor

Poor

5

Murray, Lower

Poor

Poor

Poor

Poor

5

Murray, Central

Poor

Moderate

Poor

Poor

6

Murray, Upper

Very poor

Moderate to good

Extremely poor

Moderate

6

Wimmera

Very poor

Poor

Poor

Very poor

7

Avoca

Very poor

Moderate to good

Poor

Very poor

7

Broken

Very poor

Moderate to good

Very poor

Poor

7

Macquarie

Very poor

Moderate to good

Very poor

Poor

8

Campaspe

Very poor

Moderate

Extremely poor

Poor

8

Castlereagh

Very poor

Good

Very poor

Poor

8

Kiewa

Very poor

Good

Very poor

Poor

8

Lachlan

Very poor

Moderate to good

Extremely poor

Poor

8

Loddon

Very poor

Moderate

Extremely poor

Poor

8

Mitta Mitta

Very poor

Good

Extremely poor

Poor

9

Goulburn

Very poor

Poor

Extremely poor

Poor

9

Murrumbidgee

Very poor

Poor to moderate

Extremely poor

Poor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
©BRFF 2008| Design: www.vigourgraphics.com