Darling-Barka River response update


NSW Government and local agencies are continuing to closely monitor and manage the hypoxic blackwater event in the Lower Darling-Barka River which resulted in mass fish deaths near Menindee last month.

Information on water sampling results is available on the Environment Protection Authority website.

Town water supply in Menindee and Wentworth remains safe to drink. Testing is ongoing to ensure it continues to meet Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

River samples tested by the EPA and shared on their website have returned negative results for pesticides, however people swimming in the river are advised to not drink the water and avoid water that has froth or a layer of dirt due to algae detected in samples.

Test results received early last week have identified the presence of blue-green algae, but hasn’t been detected at levels requiring a red alert in the Menindee Lakes.

Water NSW provides up-to-date information on algae alerts on the Water NSW website.

Regarding the level of water in the Lakes, flows are being gradually reduced and adjusted while trying to minimise the risk of water quality deteriorating in different parts of the river.

As hypoxic blackwater continues to move downstream, the risk to fish health remains high, but the cooler weather will hopefully assist our efforts. The EPA continues to work with councils to ensure the drinking water they supply remains clean and safe for residents.

Releases of well-oxygenated water are continuing from Lake Menindee and Lake Pamamaroo to boost dissolved oxygen (DO) levels and provide refuge for native fish.

Regular meetings of the cross agency working group continues as the Emergency Operations Centre at Wentworth is stood down.

Minister Sharpe also reaffirmed the Minns Government’s commitment to hold an independent inquiry into the fish deaths at Menindee.

“The Minns Government is making progress on finalising the details of the review and will have more to say on this matter soon,” Ms Sharpe said.

“It is important we leave no stone unturned in reducing the likelihood of these events happening in the future,” she said.

Communities along the Darling-Barka River will continue to be updated as information comes to hand.

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