Rain opens barrage gates and brings hyacinth
Published on 19 January 2021
The recent rainfall in the upstream catchment has filled the Fitzroy River Barrage and brought aquatic weeds to the area.
Over the weekend the Barrage storage level increased by 10% to reach 100% capacity, allowing the gates to open and water to flow through.
Acting Mayor Neil Fisher said this was great news for the Region.
“Once again, the mighty Fitzroy River demonstrates its incredible reliability by filling our Barrage storage for another year to ensure that the community has an adequate water supply to meet its needs,” said Acting Mayor Fisher.
“Rockhampton is truly very fortunate to have such a reliable river system to support its future growth and development. The full Barrage storage means that there is sufficient water to last the community at least another 18 months without further significant inflows.”
Water Councillor Donna Kirkland said the water security in parts of the Rockhampton Region was unrivalled elsewhere in Queensland.
“The Barrage is truly a magnificent piece of infrastructure, and yet again has provided us with enough water for the foreseeable future,” said Cr Kirkland.
“However we shouldn’t forget that it would only take one dry year for us to be in a much less secure position, so it’s important that we remain water wise and conserve this important resource.
“I also want to take the opportunity to commend the most water wise residents of all – those in Mount Morgan – for doing their bit until we get the rain that’s desperately needed for the No. 7 Dam.”
The increased water flow means the Fitzroy River is currently awash with green vegetation as aquatic weeds float downstream.
“While this may be creating an eyesore, it’s nothing to be overly concerned about,” said Acting Mayor Fisher.
“This is quite a common sight at this time of year and while we are especially grateful for the recent rainfall, it does mean that our waterways are prone to beds of hyacinth, which are known to grow rapidly over the warmer months.”
Planning and Regulatory Councillor Ellen Smith said that while Council is proactive in managing the weeds, there are limitations to controlling the amount that moves downstream.
“While we are able to manage the hyacinth in our immediate local government area, there is the challenge in that the weed may be growing in other areas and float down in the water during these river flow events,” said Cr Smith.
“Council manages the hyacinth using an approved chemical treatment spray as well as a successful biocontrol program which utilises a certain species of weevils to combat the growth of pest plants that are damaging native ecosystems and affecting water flow.
“During the warmer months it does become more difficult to manage due to its rapid growth rate.
“We encourage boat owners to be cautious while launching, and to ensure any boats moored in the river are monitored closely by their owners for the possible build-up of weeds.”
Rockhampton Regional Council has a weevil farming program available to landholders that has shown success in controlling water hyacinth and other aquatic weeds. For further details on this free program, including how to trial the biocontrol method on your property, contact Council on 4932 9000.