The current floodwaters in the Condamine Balonne Rivers in Queensland are a product of the same rains that generated flooding in
Rockhampton and Brisbane. Rain on the western side of the Great Dividing Range has fuelled the Condamine-Balonne rivers in the northern Murray Darling Basin and sent a massive pulse of floodwater inland through the towns of Warwick, Condamine, Surat, St George and on downstream where it will eventually join the Darling River above Bourke in NSW.
Murray Darling Basin Flow Tracker has been designed to make it easy to track flows down our rivers towards the Murray mouth some 2000 kilometres downstream from its source. Flow Tracker is an initiative of former Murray Darling Basin scientist Tony Sharley who lives on the Murray River at Renmark, who saw the need to track the flows down the many major rivers that have been in flood over the past year. It was just so exciting to see some flow after an incredibly dry 15 years – that I wanted to follow it down to South Australia. Since February 2010 – there have been several rainfall events that have created flooding in every basin river and filled almost all of the basin’s
Mr Sharley recognised that it’s difficult to picture where the heavy rains and flood flows are in the basin’s rivers which drain over a
million square kilometres and help maintain many environmental assets and play a major role in the economy of the Basin which covers 4 states and the ACT. In addition, water politics and the highly topical Draft Basin Plan means there’s always interest in the basin’s rivers and how much water is flowing in them.
However, people are unsure how they are connected up, especially people who live in capital cities which are all outside the Basin.
For example flood flows in the Paroo and Warrego Rivers in March 2010 were somewhat confusing because they were reported to occur in the South west region of Queensland which is the north western region of the Murray Darling Basin.
As a South Australian, we often forget or don’t realise that we are connected to rivers in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The recent floodwaters in the Darling River and Murrumbidgee River in NSW and the Ovens River in Victoria are now flowing into the Murray River and heading to South Australia where they will continue to maintain a high river. People are genuinely interested in whether South Australia may experience 1956 flood levels which were the largest on record created by flooding in the Darling River and Murray River catchments which all arrived where the rivers meet at Wentworth at the same time.
FlowTracker creates an opportunity to see how much water is in every one of the Basin’s major river at a point in time. Updated weekly, people will soon be able to log on and track flow on a map of the Murray Darling Basin.