After seven years of drought, Narran Lakes (Dharriwaa to the Yuwaalaraay/Euahlayi First Nations people) received some good flows in 2020. This water helped some of the lakeside vegetation start to bounce back. However, after such a long drought, some plants did not recover as well as hoped. The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) looked to secure some additional water for the lakes in early 2021 to support further recovery.
Following a successful pilot project in 2020, the CEWO ran a second grant process in early 2021 to reimburse water licence holders in the Lower Balonne River system to not pump water they were legally entitled to from the Narran River. The second grant worked the same way as the pilot, with some improvements made following an independent review.
The suitable rainfall and flow conditions were met to trigger the grant in autumn 2021, with around 330 gigalitres of flow passing the St George gauge in March-April. However, the eligible entitlement holders chose not to participate in the grant. Despite this, although relatively small, the flows over 2021 built on the flows of 2020 and continued to help vegetation recover. All the important waterbird breeding habitat within the Ramsar site was inundated, including Clear Lake, Back Lake, Long Arm and Lignum Swamp. Other areas of the ecosystem were partially inundated, including Narran Lake to the south of the Ramsar site.
Further information on the pilot project:
Core documents from the 2021 grant:
This document details how the grant (available to water‑licence holders in the Lower Balonne river system) would have ran if a water-licence holder chose to participate
Grant opportunity guidelines (PDF - 330.24 KB)
Grant opportunity guidelines (DOCX - 292.1 KB)
This document provides independent advice regarding the price that would have been reimbursed to water-licence holders in the Lower Balonne through the grant
Independent assessment of price for water foregone for pumping (PDF - 721.42 KB)
Independent assessment of price for water foregone for pumping (DOCX - 719.79 KB)
This report provides updated price advice
Independent assessment of price for water foregone for Lower Balonne – March-June 2021 (PDF - 727.78 KB)
Independent assessment of price for water foregone for Lower Balonne – March-June 2021 (DOCX - 855.34 KB)