Below the Dam Wall, Burrendong Dam, Macquarie River, NSW

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Ian Stehbens on January 18, 2008

For the last few years it has been tough times in much of southern and eastern Australia because of drought. This small discharge from Burrendong Dam on the Macquarie River headwaters was possible because some rain had fallen in the catchment from July to December 2007 but still the storage of impounded water is only a small percentage of the dam's capacity.

Downstream irrigators are again allowed some water allocation.

Perhaps the most unusual of the downstream water users is the Dubbo Plains Zoo. The 300Ha open range zoo needs a regular allocation with a minimum threshold This savannah grassland and woodland environment uses water for irrigation as well as to contain the animals in moated precincts or on islands. Without the water, hippos would not survive the intense summer sun, the monkeys would have to be put into cages, the bison, eland, zebra would have to migrate in search of food unless huge supplementary fodder bills were generated. And the free ranging birds and animals would wander elsewhere.

Water management in Australia is important engineering and a critical political stratagem.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on January 18, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens