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Border Rivers catchment

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2013-14

Watering action Status of Commonwealth action
Border Rivers including the Severn River (NSW), Macintyre Brook (Qld) and Dumaresq River (Qld) Completed
Severn River Qld unregulated Yet to commence
Lower Macintyre Qld unregulated Yet to commence

A summary of Commonwealth environmental watering from previous years in the Border Rivers is included below. For further information about Commonwealth environmental watering in the Border Rivers and the outcomes achieved, please refer to the Commonwealth environmental water Outcomes Reports and Annual Reports.

Planning for 2014-15

Commonwealth environmental water use options 2014-15: Border Rivers and 
Commonwealth environmental water annual use options: Northern Unregulated Rivers identifies potential Commonwealth environmental watering actions for 2014-15. Decisions on using Commonwealth environmental water will be made throughout the year based on seasonal, operational and management considerations. If you wish to provide suggestions for Commonwealth environmental water use please contact us at or send us your suggestion by visiting: Your suggestions for potential water use options.

Water availability and portfolio management

For more information regarding the characteristics of entitlements and the water resource plan held in the Border Rivers catchment please refer to New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Office of Water and Queensland's Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Water trading

Information on future trade considerations is available at: Portfolio Management Update

Information on current trading actions is available at: Current Trading Actions

Information on previous trading actions is available at: Trading Outcomes

Environmental watering in the catchment in previous years

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2012-13
Watering action Amount of water delivered (ML) Status of action
Border Rivers 895 Completed
Severn River unregulated 976 Completed
Lower Macintyre unregulated 687 Completed
Total in 2012-13 2 558  
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2011-12
Watering action Amount of water delivered (ML) Status of action
Severn River 1 000 Completed
Total in 2011-12 1 000  

No Commonwealth environmental watering has occurred in the Border Rivers catchment prior to 2011-12.

Catchment profile

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.

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red irregular shaped area  denotes ramsar site
Ramsar site

yellow irregular shaped area denotes diwa site
DIWA site

Map of Border Rivers Catchment

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 Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA), coordinated by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, provides scientifically robust assessments of the ecological health of the Basin's river valleys. The overall ecosystem health of the Border Rivers catchment as reported by the SRA is summarised below.

SRA Report Overall ecosystem health of catchment
SRA 1 (based on data collected from 2004 to 2007) Moderate
SRA 2 (based on data collected from 2008 to 2010) Poor

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.