Water gauges to be installed upstream of the Menindee Lakes after the Darling River has flooded

Twenty gauges will be installed to better monitor water flow in response to flooding in Menindi, according to the New South Wales government.

Several homes were flooded and dozens remained in danger after authorities failed to predict the large flows that spilled into the Menindi Lakes from December to January.

According to authorities, this was at least in part due to the re-entry of unmeasured water from Taylawalka Creek into the system.

NSW Water Minister Kevin Anderson confirmed that the installation of the first of five Commonwealth-funded hydrometric stations was underway at Wilkanya, Bourke, Woolgate, Kambon and Borwarina.

“These metrics provide live information about the upstream flows from the rivers,” he said.

“This information is shared with other agencies, including the State Emergency Service and the Met Office.”

Taylawalka is a flood plain near Wilcannia, which runs alongside the Darling River.

It flows about once every decade after heavy rains in the catchment area north.

Hydrometers can vary in progress, including these simple Wilcania leaflets.(ABC’s Broken Hill: Bill Ormond)

According to a Water NSW spokesperson, there are several types of meter.

“The basic flow meter is the employee measurement function [pictured above] or a series of them above the river bank used to read the water level in a recursive manner.”

“To get more information in a timely manner, more sophisticated instruments are installed in a shelter up the bank, ideally above flood levels, and sensors to read the water level or water quality are placed down the bank to sit in the water when the current is flowing.

These automated measurements are then sent via telemetry to a central database where they are captured and made available for use.

Floodwaters soak the land east of Wilcania on a blue day.
Tallywalker Creek lies over 900 kilometers inland.(supplied)

A well-maintained water meter can last a “very long time” and there are sites along Darling that have been in operation for more than 100 years, said a Water NSW spokesperson.

“These sites are the most valuable because they allow for historical comparisons,” he said.

Installation price

The spokesperson said the cost of installation and maintenance varies between units, due to their requirements and location.

Leave a Comment