Travelling Australia - Journal 2015c
|4 June 2015
Broken Hill to Menindee
We left Broken Hill after a cool night followed by a bright, but cloudy day with a cold wind. The road to Menindee is well-signed and traffic was light. The road is good bitumen, initially winding over a low range of hills (maximum height abut 350 metres) then straightening out and descending gently and steadily to Menindee about 100 kilometres away.
The plains beside the road were mostly covered with low bluebush, except for a patch of low grass about halfway to Menindee. Emus were the most living thing seen along the road; we saw neither sheep nor goats.
The fresh-water pipe providing Broken Hill with fresh water from the Menindee Lakes runs near the road as it leaves Broken Hill but then separates to follow a more direct route than the road. Approaching Menindee the pipe re-appeared beside the road (it runs on concrete spacers above the ground so is obvious from many kilometres away)
A few kilometres before the township we turned off the road into Menindee Lakes caravan park on the shore of completely dry Menindee Lake where we set up for a couple of nights.
Menindee Lake is part of a complex formed by the Darling River and a series of natural lakes known collectively as The Menindee Lakes. In broad terms the Menindee Lakes controls water flowing down the Darling River, either diverting it into a series of interconnected pondages or allowing some or all of it to continue downstream. As well, water held in pondages can be released to augment the natural flow of the Darling River to meet management objectives. At present, the primary objective of the scheme is to provide water for Broken Hill and downstream flow has been stopped. Water flowing down the Darling River from recent heavy rain in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland has been stored to meet Broken Hill's water requirements.
As part of this water management, Menindee Lake has been allowed to dry by closing off gates in a weir at the end of the Interconnection Channel from longer term storage in Pamamaroo Lake. The fact that Menindee Lake is bone dry and being used to graze cattle doesn't mean the whole scheme is dry but does mean that overall water levels are very low. At present, concern is being expressed that there may be insufficient fresh water for Broken Hill in the near future.
4 June 2015 - Broken Hill to Menindee, page 2