Menindee Lakes Agreement

Menindee Lakes are located in southwestern New South Wales on the Darling River, about 200 km upstream from the mouth of the Darling River in the Murray River. The town of Menindee is close to the lakes and the nearest town is Broken Hill. The Menindee Lakes Water Storage Scheme supplies Broken Hill, the Lower Darling, and water users along the Murray River in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement. Seven of the lakes have been integrated into an artificially regulated overflow system, which provides both flood protection and storage for domestic use, livestock and downstream irrigation. Lakes are also important for waterfowl. The main camp for the Murray-Darling system, Menindee Lakes have been modified since the 1960s with dams and canals to allow the storage and release of water for the river. If they are full, the lakes can hold the equivalent of three and a half ports in Sydney. The flat edges of the overflowing lakes are dotted with dead black cashiers, while the shores are dominated by blue rods and the turbulence of the sandy hill. [4] The lakes are owned by the Government of New South Wales and operated by Water NSW.

The Menindee-Lacs Plan, which involves the evaporation of lakes by the narrowing and more frequent drying of Lake Cawndilla, has been proposed as the most important means for the state to restore to the environment the gap between the 1.312GL of water it intended to return to the environment as part of the Murray-Darling pelvic plan and the remaining 345GL to “cross”. In accordance with the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, we manage the River Murray system on behalf of the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Commonwealth governments. Under the terms of the agreement, we can order the release of water from lakes to meet downstream demand if their volume increases beyond 640 GL and until they fall below 480 GL. After thousands of years of Aboriginal colonization, the Menindee Lakes and the Darling River have become a vital artery for early European explorers in one of the world`s driest regions. Major Thomas Mitchell, Charles Sturt and Bourke and Wills used the lakes on expeditions between 1835 and 1860. The plan also aims to ensure uniform water regulation throughout the basin. Some rivers and certain types of water rights were unregulated when the plan was put in place, so new rules and water-sharing agreements were needed. The lakes have a total nominal supply volume of 1.731 GL, but can be filled within certain limits for a total volume of 2,050 GL. The total area of the 4 lakes is about 50 km2 when it is full. According to WaterNSW, 426GL per year is lost due to evaporation and the difference in lake management could save up to 200GL per year. The lakes are 103 to 15,900 hectares.

The largest are Lakes De Menindee, Wetherell, Pamamaroo and Cawndilla. These four, along with Tandure, Bijijie and Balaka, are part of the Menindee Lakes Water Storage Scheme, with Cawndilla and Menindee also inside Kinchega National Park. Lakes Nettlegoe, Kangaroo, Stir Tank, New and Malta are unregulated. Lake Tandou is exploited on irrigated arable land and is no longer flooded. Lake Menindee, the largest of the lakes, is 16 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide. Menindee Lakes Storages is a large dam that includes several dam and sea embankments and a concrete exit with six vertical lift doors on the seven lakes that are part of the Menindee Lakes Water Storage Scheme. The lakes were originally a series of natural depths that filled up during the floods. As the current narrowed, flooding poured into the natural troughs back into the Darling River. [2] In 1963, the NSW government agreed with the Australian, Victorian and South Australian authorities that lake water could be divided to cover downstream water needs if the lake volume exceeds 640 GL and falls below 480 GL.