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Moonie catchment

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2013-14

Watering action Status of Commonwealth action
Moonie River Completed

A summary of Commonwealth environmental watering from previous years in the Moonie is included below. For further information about the Commonwealth environmental watering in the Moonie 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: 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 Moonie catchment please refer to 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
Moonie River 1 415 Completed
Total in 2012-13 1 415  
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2011-12
Watering action Amount of water delivered (ML) Status of action
Moonie River 1 415 Completed
Total in 2011-12 1 415  
Environmental watering in the catchment in 2010-11
Watering action Amount of water delivered (ML) Status of action
Moonie River 1 415 Completed
Total in 2010-11 1 415  

Catchment profile

Where is it?

The Moonie Catchment is located predominantly in south-western Queensland and extends over the border into northern New South Wales. It is bounded to the east by the Border Rivers region, to the north by the Condamine-Balonne and to the south by the Barwon-Darling region. The catchment is essentially flat with low relief hills scattered throughout the floodplains of the Moonie River.

The catchment covers an area of 15,103km2 or 1.4 per cent of the MDB. It is one of the most heavily cleared in southern Queensland. From its headwaters east of Tara, the Moonie flows in a south-western direction and is joined by tributaries such as Teelba, Brigalow and Toombilla Creeks. It is an unregulated river, yet almost all irrigation in the area depends on surface water.

Northern Catchments page


Ramsar site

DIWA site

Map of Moonie Catchment

What makes this place so special?

The Moonie catchment is an ecologically significant area because it includes:

  • a major bioregion, the Southern Brigalow belt, with remnants of brigalow forests, poplar box, wilga and white cypress pine
  • protected species including the Australian painted snipe, the freckled duck and the purple-spotted gudgeon
  • a diverse range of flora and fauna, including river red gum, coolabah, lignum and black box vegetation communities, and fish communities including olive perchlet, bony bream, gudgeons, golden perch and freshwater eel-tailed catfish
  • three endangered vegetation communities
  • over 100 wetlands exceeding one hectare in area, many of which support bird breeding events
  • high biodiversity and unique systems in-stream

The Thallon waterholes have been identified as a significant ecological site in the Moonie catchment. They are filled by overbank flows from the Moonie River during significant flow events. This wetland comprises two lakes of approximately 12 ha and 21 ha, and is a relatively permanent source of water. These act as refugia for organisms and have been recorded to support between 10,000 and 20,000 waterbirds.

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 Moonie catchment (assessed as part 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 Moonie indicated that the region uses 0.2 per cent of the surface water diverted for irrigation in the MDB and uses less than 0.1 per cent of the total groundwater used in the MDB (excluding the confined aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB)). The best estimate 2030 climate indicates reductions of 12 per cent in water availability, a 13 per cent reduction in end-of-system flows and a 6 per cent reduction in diversions (assuming full utilisation of current entitlements). Under the best estimate 2030 climate the average period between floods inundating the floodplain wetlands along the Moonie River would increase by a further 24 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.