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A Real-Time Hydrological Model for the Narran Lakes Ecosystem

The "flow regime" of the Narran Ecosystem is important and central to maintaining its ‘ecological character’ (Thoms et al., 2001), i.e., the combination of the physical, chemical and biological components of the system. Specifically, floods in the Narran River contribute flows to the Narran Lakes Ecosystem and the success of water bird breeding colonies is highly dependent on these water levels. In particular, waterbird breeding in terms of reproductive success and clutch size appears to be directly related to flooding. Since the late 1980’s, flows in the Condamine Balonne River upstream of the Narran Ecosystem have been modified by large-scale water resource developments. For example, median annual flows at St George have been reduced by 30% and there have been major reductions in the magnitude and frequency of important flood events. Given these pressures on water availability, improved tools for water management in the region are required.