Flood recovery program for water quality monitoring - Darling-Baaka River

A comprehensive river health monitoring program that extends the NSW Government’s incident response to the floods and mass fish death disasters that occurred in early 2023.

About the program

The program is being delivered through two key projects:

The program will run until June 2025 and is funded by the joint Commonwealth and NSW Governments’ Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. 

Water quality information 

The EPA and DCCEEW responded to the disasters in 2023 through regular water quality sampling. Results from 2023 are available at the link below.

Results in 2024 and 2025 to be provided quarterly through the Darling-Baaka River Health Project.

Barkandji logo

Ngarratja Warrkina (All Working Together)

The EPA have partnered with the Barkandji Native Title Group Aboriginal Corporation (Barkandji PBC) to design and deliver a pilot Aboriginal knowledge project through the program by 30 June 2025.

Integrating cultural knowledge and practices into water quality monitoring will improve understanding of the health of the Baaka River following disasters in early 2023.  

The project will consider findings in the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Independent Review into the 2023 Mass Fish Deaths in the Darling-Baaka River.

Key project activities

Between December 2023 and June 2025, Barkandji PBC will carry out project activities along the Baaka River from Wilcannia to Wentworth.  This will include:

  • monitoring how the Darling-Baaka is recovering from the 2023 disasters by taking water samples and assessing riverbanks
  • sharing data with the community, and hosting workshops to listen and learn from local knowledge
  • building a holistic understanding of environmental impacts by bringing conventional science and Barkandji knowledge together.

Project objectives

The objectives of the Ngarratja Warrkina Project are to connect with community and integrate Barkandji cultural knowledge and practices into water quality monitoring.


Darling-Baaka River Health Project

The EPA have partnered with the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) to deliver the Darling-Baaka River Health Project. This project will deliver ecological monitoring across priority areas of the Darling-Baaka River affected by the floods and fish deaths in 2023 listed under Australian Government Reference Number (AGRN) 1034.

The project encompasses the Darling-Baaka River and its floodplain (the Darling-Baaka system) from approximately 100 kilometres upstream of Wilcannia to the northern Wentworth Shire border downstream of Pooncarie.

The project aims to:

  • improve understanding of Darling-Baaka River health
  • support local capacity to monitor water quality for flood events
  • facilitate environmental recovery.

Key project activities

Between July 2023 and June 2025, the project will:

  • consolidate data from existing ecological programs for integration into revised sampling and reporting. Data will inform changes to sampling design and scope.
  • raise awareness and understanding of how the project’s work can help to inform river management.
  • develop and implement a water quality and river health monitoring program aligned to the River Condition Index (RCI) including:
    • geomorphic condition
    • hydrological stress
    • water quality
    • riparian vegetation condition
    • biodiversity condition
    • catchment disturbance.
  • engage stakeholders and the community to share and link outcomes
  • provide real-time water quality monitoring data and consolidated reports each quarter that support understanding of river health for the Darling-Baaka.

Benefits of the project

The project will support long term environmental recovery from the 2023 disasters by:

  • improving understanding of the longer-term impacts of floods on water quality
  • working with communities and waterway users to ensure local needs for information about water quality are met
  • promoting evidence-based decision making and management
  • improving stakeholder ability to identify and manage potential risks associated with natural disasters
  • facilitating coordination and collaboration across agencies, projects and programs.