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Monitoring flows in the Namoi, Macquarie and Warrego Rivers

In late March 2019 rain fell in the Namoi, Macquarie and Warrego catchments which led to the first significant flow to occur along those systems, for an extended period of time.

Such ‘first flush’ or resumption of flows, carry with them a significant ecological, socio-economic and cultural value, providing the local ecosystem and community much needed relief during long times of dry. In recognition of this the NSW Government implemented a temporary limit on extraction to coincide with the flow to help maximise its ability to provide local benefit.

The MDBA monitored the flows using free, open and public satellite imagery from the European Space Agency Sentinel-2 satellite system, to better understand the hydrologic behaviour of these areas during a dry period as well as monitor the progress of the flow for compliance purposes.

This report presents the monitoring results and highlights landscape changes seen, whereby significant extraction and capture was seen to occur as the flow arrived. This work highlights the importance of adequate protection of critical flows and the limitations of imposing a temporary extraction limit while the flow event is en-route. It also highlights progress made over the last 12 months for the routine and efficient use of satellite imagery as one line of evidence for compliance purposes.

Publication error: On 17 October 2019 the MDBA inadvertently published a draft version of the report Monitoring first flush flows in the Namoi, Macquarie and Warrego River. The MDBA replaced this version with a final report at 8:30pm 18 October 2019. The MDBA acknowledges publication of an earlier version may have caused unnecessary concern and confusion to landholders. Satellite images alone are not evidence of illegal activity, they indicate areas for further consideration and possible compliance investigation. The MDBA has uploaded an updated version of the report, and will now review its publishing practices.

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Monitoring ‘first flush’ flows in the Namoi, Macquarie and Warrego Rivers

This report replaces an earlier version and was published at 8:30pm on 18 October 2019. 

Updated: 18 Oct 2019  •   MDBA reports