Outback river flows after seven years dry


The Diamantina River, which runs through the Channel Country, has been topped up by flooding rains.A major outback river has broken its banks for the first time in seven years and brought relief to farmers in the drought-stricken southwestern corner of Queensland.

The Diamantina River, which runs through the Channel Country, has been topped up by flooding rains that drenched Winton in the first week of March.

Local Mayor Geoff Morton called it a “handy” flood which would assist tourism, the council and more importantly graziers, who have been praying for rain.

“The Diamantina bursts its banks once every four years and it’s the first time the river has burst its banks since 2011, so it’s well overdue,” he told AAP on Sunday.

“There are three areas of industry here, and that’s the council, tourism and grazing, that will do well.

“It’s not a major flood, but it’s a handy, moderate flood and for graziers upstream it will ensure their season for two years.”

Not only will it mean steady crops until 2020 for farmers upstream and about one year for those around Birdsville, but it also means jobs.

Mr Morton, who has lived in Birdsville for 63 years and is in his second term as Diamantina Shire Council Mayor, said the flood would cause some minor damage and that would help local employment.

“For council, it means, it will help with our sustainability because it will provide work in repairing the roads. The bird life, after this around Birdsville and upstream from here, will be prolific which is good for tourism.”

He said locals had been waiting for the water to arrive ever since Winton was awash because the area had been as “dry as a limeburner’s boot.”

The only disappointment was that the Diamantina River was the only source and local creeks and tributaries failed to top up the water as it travelled south.

“We had warning it was coming and the only thing is, as it came down the river, it fell away a lot,” he said.

“When it went past Diamantina Lakes it was the second highest flood reading by my records … by the time it got to here it was just a handy flood. All the large tributaries and creeks … didn’t contribute.”

The Bureau Of Meteorology issued a moderate flood warning for Diamantina River at Birdsville which had reached 5.94m on Sunday morning (10.25am).

The river was expected to peak between 6m-6.3m on Monday or Tuesday.

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