The first flows from widespread rainfall over north-west NSW and southern Queensland during January/February 2020 started arriving at Menindee Lakes (Lake Wetherell) on 10 March. Flows are expected to continue into Lake Wetherell over coming months.
Based on combined rainfall events it is estimated that over 550 gigalitres (GL) will ultimately reach Menindee Lakes as a result of this flow event.
The expected inflows will be enough to maintain supply to Lower Darling landholders for the next 12-18 months.
Releases for the Lower Darling commenced on 26 March 2020.
The releases are designed so that flows are maintained along the river for as long as possible and water quality impacts are minimised. Poor water quality can impact on both water users and the environment, including native fish populations that remain in refuge pools along the river.
We provided regular updates on the Lower Darling releases during the event. In summary (PDF, 207.35 KB), the government was able to adaptively manage the releases from Menindee Lakes so that poor quality water was flushed from the remnant pools along the Darling River, with no associated fish deaths reported as the water flowed down to Wentworth. As the head of the flow moved down the river, salinity peaked for only a few days and stayed within acceptable levels.