Water 'wasted in release by arrogant agencies'

Water 'wasted in release by arrogant agencies'

An aerial view of floodwater across plains near Dirranbandi, Q!d, taken by Frank Deshon, Nee-Nee, Dirranbandi.

An aerial view of floodwater across plains near Dirranbandi, Q!d, taken by Frank Deshon, Nee-Nee, Dirranbandi.


Major water release ends up flooding between St George and Dirranbandi, Qld.


RELEASES of up to 3600 megalitres of water per day to the Balonne River system from the EJ Beardmore Dam at St George, Queensland, to "ensure safety and integrity of the dam structure" has been condemned by graziers, water users and communities along the whole system down to northwest NSW.

That water, added with a 4400ML a day flow from the Maranoa River, has caused flooding as far down as Dirranbandi and may continue further south, but well short of the potential water relief if the recommended water management plan of 730ML/D release was agreed to by the Qld Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Sunwater.

Australian Floodplain Association president, Terry Korn, has described the situation as disappointing.

"Irrigators, floodplain graziers and people along the river all recommended the same handling scenario, however the government agencies thumbed their noses to them," Mr Korn said.

According to Sunwater executive general manager operations, Colin Bendall, it was essential to lower the Beardmore dam level to five per cent or 4000ML for a period of eight to 12 weeks so repair works could be carried out at the dam's outlet and Thuraggi Channel, downstream.

Balonne Shire councillor Samantha O'Toole said the release was a missed opportunity.

"I'm really disappointed and it seems no one can be held responsible," she said.

"The DNR and Sunwater obviously can do just what they want and they didn't even follow our water management rules.

"Nobody can tell me why those sort of flow rates were chosen.

"This will have a negative impact even further down the system from Angledool."

Rory Treweeke, Angledool Station, Lightning Ridge, falls short of cursing Queensland's SunWater for releasing the 3600 megalitre flow of water down the Balonne River, but not by much.

He lives on the Narran River, where the water would have ended up had it not been released so rapidly from Beardmore Dam.

"It's just been a complete stuff up, water that could have made it through to Narran Lake will just soak into the floodplain, maybe a couple of properties will have a couple of hundred acres soaked on the other side of the border and that will be that."

He said the releases, that SunWater claimed was in the interests of "dam safety", were guaranteed to send water over the river's banks.

Water from heavy rain north of Mitchell on the Maranoa River in late April arrived at St George, to Beardmore Dam, on May 1.


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