Threats to biodiversity in Australia’s Burdekin River Basin

Wolanski, Eric (2021) Threats to biodiversity in Australia’s Burdekin River Basin. Biodiversity Online Journal, 1 (3). BOJ.000513.2021.

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Abstract

[Extract] The Murray-Darling basin in Australia (Figure 1) is a prime example of a whole river basin suffering from environmental degradation from historical, haphazard developments without integrated planning [1]. A similar scenario is developing for the Burdekin River basin in North Queensland.

The average flow of the Burdekin River is over 40% that of the Murray-Darling. The only existing large dam on the river is the Burdekin Falls Dam, constructed in 1987; it traps 88% of the watershed. It provides irrigation water for irrigated sugar farms in the lower Burdekin. For the environment and biodiversity, the key issues from dams are the impact on the river, the coast, and the Great Barrier Reef of the dams interfering with the sediment loads and the runoff from fertilized irrigated farms. There are currently business case studies for raising by 2m the Burdekin Falls Dam, and for three new dams (Figure 1): Hells Gates Dam, Urannah Dam, and the Big Rocks Weir. The Hells Gates and the Urannah dams would double the existing extraction of water for irrigation.

Item ID: 73124
Item Type: Article (Other)
ISSN: 2770-6745
Copyright Information: Copyright © Eric Wolanski. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 30 May 2022 04:55
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180301 Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems @ 100%
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