127 14 When our rivers ran dry – 30 years of water resource development in the Murray–Darling Basin Ed Fessey Introduction The lower Balonne River floodplain begins where the Balonne River splits into its main streams and braided channels (Fig. 14.1). Water then flows south-east into the Ramsar-listed Narran Lake and to the west, down the Culgoa, Birrie and Bokhara Rivers to the Darling River. There are ~1600 km of main river channels in this Lower Balonne system. Most of the floodplain of the Condamine–Balonne catchment is in the Lower Balonne, the largest in the Murray–Darling Basin (Kingsford et al. 2004). This floodplain was once excellent for cattle Queensland Narran Lake New South Wales Cubbie Station B Beardmore Dam Bullabelalie Station S H D W A G Fig. 14.1. The Lower Balonne system, shown in the inset (square), within the Condamine–Balonne catchment of the Murray–Darling Basin in south-eastern Australia. The Lower Balonne system crosses the Queensland and New South Wales border (dashed line) and diverges down four different rivers, one of which supplies the Ramsar-listed Narran Lake system. There are also urban centres (filled circles, A – Angeldool, B – Brewarrina, D – Dirranbandi, G – Goodooga, H – Hebel, S – St George, W – Weilmoringle), Beardmore Dam (government-built dam), Cubbie Station, a major irrigation property, and our Bullabellalie Station affected by reductions in flow.
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