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Removal of dam to help flows into Darling River

A failed irrigation dam restricting precious water from flowing into the crippled Darling River has been removed by the Berejiklian government.

Peebles Dam at Toorale National Park, in the state's northwest, has officially been decommissioned in a bid to allow Warrego River flows to pass down through to the Darling and help fish migrate between the two systems.

It will also allow for "high flow" events in the Darling to go back up into the Warrego River.

After a much-needed downpour, the flow in the Warrego River above the Peebles site peaked at over 650-megalitres yesterday morning and this water will now flow through to the Darling River unimpeded.

The virtually dry river bed of the Darling River at Tolarno Station on the Pooncarie Road near Menindee. Picture: Rohan Kelly.
The virtually dry river bed of the Darling River at Tolarno Station on the Pooncarie Road near Menindee. Picture: Rohan Kelly.

Environment Minister Matt Kean confirmed the removal of the dam - which forms the first phase of the Toorale Water Infrastructure Project - would have an immediate impact on the next flow.

"This work should have been completed a decade ago," Mr Kean said.

"I've heard the community's concerns about the time it's taken to deliver this project and I am glad it was done in time for yesterday's rain."

"This project will assist in ensuring water, our most precious resource, remains in the river system and is not held in unnecessary infrastructure, a legacy from Toorale's days gone by."

Environment Minister Matt Kean confirmed the removal of Peebles Dam would have an immediate impact on the next flow. Picture: AAP
Environment Minister Matt Kean confirmed the removal of Peebles Dam would have an immediate impact on the next flow. Picture: AAP

Mr Kean said the works commenced in October and were completed ahead of schedule.

Peebles Dam was previously in a failed state due to a breach at a neighbouring dam affecting the storage capacity of its weir pool.

A low-level version of the dam was built in the 1870s to assist with diverting water into Ross Billabong to improve water supplies at the Toorale woolshed and wool scour.

The second phase of the Toorale Water Infrastructure project involves modifications to Boera, Booka and Homestead dams, including the construction of fish passage structures.
The work is expected to start next year and is funded by the federal government.



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