|Security||Registered entitlements (ML)||Long Term Average Annual Yield (ML)|
Commonwealth environmental water in the Border Rivers catchment
Water availability and portfolio management
Portfolio management statements for the Border Rivers catchment provide information on the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office's approach to the management of Commonwealth environmental water holdings in the catchment. The portfolio management statement identifies the type and amount of entitlements held, the forecast of water available and the proposed approach to trading, carryover and use of the water.
Options for Commonwealth environmental water use
Annual water use options 2012-13: Border rivers catchment and Annual Water Use Options 2012-13: Northern Murray-Darling Basin Unregulated Rivers identifies potential Commonwealth environmental watering actions for 2012-13.
Annual water use options 2012-13: Border rivers catchment - Fact sheet and Annual Water Use Options 2012-13: Northern Basin Unregulated Rivers – Fact Sheet summarises the approach and some of the options for using Commonwealth environmental water, as well as identifies how anyone may provide suggestions for use of environmental water.
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2012-13
Environmental watering in the catchment in previous years
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2011-12
During 2011-12 1 gigalitre of unregulated water was used to support natural flows that promote native fish movement and maintain high value waterholes and riparian vegetation within the Sundown National Park.
No Commonwealth environmental watering has occurred in the Border Rivers catchment prior to 2011-12.
Where is it?
The Border Rivers region is based around the Macintyre River and the Dumaresq River, which merge to form the Macintyre River. The Macintyre River ultimately becomes the Barwon River. The region is bounded to the east by the Great Dividing Range, the north by the Condamine-Balonne and Moonie regions, the south by the Gwydir region and to the west by the Barwon-Darling region. The slopes region lies west of Ashford and Texas to below Boggabilla and is characterised by undulating country with numerous permanent and semi-permanent billabongs. The plains region is downstream of Boggabilla where the terrain is undulating to flat. Floodplains stretch west towards Mungindi.
The Border Rivers region covers 45,675km2 or 4.4 per cent of the area of the MDB. The Macintyre River's main tributary is the Severn River. The principal tributaries of the Dumaresq River are the Beardy River and Ottley's Creek. Major water storages constructed since the late 1960s enable irrigated agriculture on the plains. The Weir River is the only significant tributary downstream of Boggabilla.
What makes this place so special?
The Border Rivers catchment is an ecologically significant area because it includes:
- a diverse range of flora and fauna species, including waterlilies, river red gum, river cooba, freckled duck, weeping bottlebrush, New England tree frog and brolga
- species listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), such as great egret, Australian painted snipe, Murray cod and Warra broad-leaved Sally
- river-fed wetlands
- a wetland of national importance
- large wetland areas which provide large amounts of organic carbon essential to ecosystem function and which supports a diverse population of waterbirds
- small effluent creeks that support waterbird breeding.
The only wetland identified as being nationally significant is the Morella Watercourse/Boobera Lagoon/Pungbougal Lagoon located on the Macintyre River floodplain. This site is considered one of the most important Aboriginal places in eastern Australia. As one of the few permanent waterbodies in the northern MDB the complex provides refuge for wildlife during periods of drought.
Sundown National Park also has ecological significance, hosting 11 rare and threatened animals, five rare or vulnerable plant species and permanent waterholes supporting a diverse range of waterbirds and aquatic biota.
What does the latest science say about the ecological health of the catchment?
The Murray-Darling Basin Commission Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) rated the overall health of river ecosystems in the Murray-Darling Basin. The SRA reports the overall ecosystem health of the Border Rivers catchment as moderate.
The CSIRO Sustainable Yields Report on the Border Rivers indicated that diversions in the catchment are 38 per cent of average available water. This is a high level of use which has reduced the reliability and volume of end-of-system flows. Under the best estimate 2030 climate average water availability would be reduced by 9 per cent, end-of-system flows reduced by 12 per cent and total diversions reduced by 2 per cent.
Note that the boundaries of this catchment as defined by the Sustainable Rivers Audit and the Sustainable Yields report differ slightly to the boundaries used here.