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‘Water appears to be never-ending: Menindee Lakes fill for first time in almost a decade

‘Water appears to be never-ending: Menindee Lakes fill for first time in almost a decade

Terry Smith now has to take a detour when he goes to lend his brother a hand with mustering.

From Scarsdale Station start air of Menindee in southern Original South Wales, Terry would typically coast – love the proverbial crow – to his brother’s place about 70 kilometres south of the town, on the Darling River.

Early Newspaper

Nonetheless floodwaters, now spilling into Lake Speculation, are causing a welcome diversion.

The branches of a dead trees stick out of the water on sunset as pelicans on the water prepare to take flight.

A flock of pelicans begins to take off from the surface of Lake Pamamaroo. (

ABC News: Niall Lenihan


“It be actually a novelty,” Mr Smith said.

“Normally I may meander straight over however now I have to meander around, in case I have to land.”

It be the first time since 2012 that water has flowed to Lake Speculation.

“To gape water running into billabongs and backwaters that haven’t been stout for a few years … it is far a great thing to wander along and watch floodwaters tear down holes and bring all the critters out.

“It be a great thing to gape.”

An aerial photo of water flowing through the gates at Lake Menindee, April 2021

For months water has been making its way into the lake diagram and by Friday morning Lake Cawndilla and Lake Menindee reached their restrict.(

ABC News: Nathan Morris


Three Sydney Harbours value of water

This weekend the Menindee Lakes – fed by the Darling River and its catchments across NSW and Queensland – are expected to reach their capacity.

By Friday morning, Lakes Cawndilla and Menindee had been stout, which meant capacity across the diagram was at greater than 98 per cent.


That means by Monday, extra than the equivalent of three Sydney Harbours will fill across the lake diagram, located about 1,000km from Sydney, and 200km north of where the Darling and Murray rivers meet.

It is the same part of the area made famous by mass fish kills in early 2019.

Water NSW spokesman Tony Webber says seeing the Menindee Lakes fill now is extraordinary.

A lone kangaroo stands among red dirt and dry scrub

Kangaroos and emus roam the bushland around the Menindee Lakes System and are benefiting from the inflows.(

ABC News: Niall Lenihan


“It be hard to believe,” he told ABC Broken Hill.

“Water [is] starting to make its way into places that haven’t considered water for a while.”

Mr Webber says back-to-back rain occasions since March have allowed the lakes to fill.

a man looks upstream as he drives his tinnie

Menindee resident Graeme McCrabb is interested to meander fishing now that the Menindee Lakes are stout.(

ABC News: Nathan Morris


Nonetheless the severity of drought over contemporary years has meant it has been gradual.

“It seems to be the drought had such a devastating impact on accurate the soil nature of the catchment itself,” he said.

‘It be accurate fantastic’

At Menindee where residents are locked down with COVID restrictions, the water is a welcome distraction.

Alive to angler Graeme McCrabb has been stealing a search for at the water flowing into Lake Menindee – the largest of the seven lakes — as he delivers food hampers with the Rural Fire Service.

An aerial view of water flowing into parched lake bed.

Water flows into Lake Speculation, part of the Menindee Lakes, for the first time since 2012. (

Supplied: Terry Smith


“It be amazing to gape — [the] water appears to be never-ending,” Mr McCrabb said.

“It be accurate fantastic to be looking across the lakes at beautiful sunshine and hear the sounds of the gushing water and screeching birds”.

Better peaceful, McCrabb says “be aware on the avenue” is that fish in the lakes “are biting”.

Nonetheless while natural world revel in the floodwaters, human celebrations will remain terminate to house for now.

Despite the NSW authorities lifting its COVID lockdown on Friday evening for some regional areas, which includes Scarsdale Station, Mr Smith can’t travel far.

“I assumed I may finish my grocery shopping in Broken Hill, however they’re locked down,” he said.

“[I] thought I may meander to the pub in Menindee, however they’re locked down.

“I may have to acquire a shearer to give me a haircut.”

‘Water appears to be never-ending: Menindee Lakes fill for first time in almost a decade