Paroo Catchment


The catchment covers more than 76 000 square kilometres of inland Australia and is the most westerly in the Murray-Darling Basin.  Paroo is a variation on the name of an Aboriginal Paakantji group, the Paruntyi (Australian Heritage Commission, 2000).

Approximately half of the Paroo catchment is contained in Queensland, all of which is within the South West NRM Ltd region.  The following information refers to this Queensland portion only.


Our Region - Paroo Catchment Map

RIVER SYSTEM Paroo River near Eulo

Major River: Paroo River
Tributaries: Beechal, Yowan, Qulberry Creeks and a section of Cuttaburra Creek

The Paroo River flows from its source in the Warrego Range and discharges onto a floodplain south of Wanaaring as it approaches the Darling River between Tilpa and Wilcannia (DNR 2000).


Mulga (Acacia aneura) is the predominant vegetation type in the Paroo catchment.  Mulga communities can range from open scrubland to tall, open shrublands.  There are also dissected stony residuals within the catchment that support a selection of bastard mulga, lancewood and Bendee (DNR 2000).

The channels of the Paroo River and its associated streams are fringed by a mixture of eucalypt and gidgee associations with the dominant eucalypt species in the catchment being River Red Gum, Coolibah and Poplar Box (DNR 2000).

In the lower reaches of the catchment the Paroo River loses its defined path and many types of wetland vegetation can be found, including blackbox, river cooba, grasses and forbs.


The Paroo catchment is in an area of low rainfall and high evaporation.  Annual average rainfall is in the range of 200 to 400 millimetres with almost 70% of the area receiving on average less than 300 millimetres per annum (DNR 2000).


Grazing, both beef cattle and sheep for wool production, is the predominant industry in the catchment (DNR 2000).  There are very few irrigated crops with crop production generally restricted to small-scale operations, aimed at providing supplementary feed for stock.


The following weeds and pests have been identified as current and potential problems in the Paroo catchment:

Exotic Weeds: Parkinsonia (Parkinsonia aculeata), Noogoora Burr and Bathurst Burr (DPI 1993).

Native 'Woody Weeds': Ellangowan, Grey Turkey Bush, Green Turkey Bush, Buddha, Hopbush, Needle Brush and Mulga (DPI 1993).  The thickening of native 'woody weeds' is believed in some cases to be the result of land degradation.

Animal Pests: Fox, feral pig, feral cat, feral goat and wild dog (Pest Info NR&M 2005). Carp, Goldfish and Gambusia have been recorded in the Paroo River (Collingham 1999).


An array of significant fauna and flora species have been listed for the Warrego, Paroo and Nebine catchments under either Commonwealth or State legislation (DNR 2000).  Of particular interest in the Paroo catchment are:




 Little Pied Bat

Salt pip-wort

 Grey Falcon

 Acacia ammophilla

 Major Mitchell or
 Pink Cockatoo

 Picris evae

 Painted Honeyeater

 Sclerolaena walkeri

 Painted Snipe


 Square Tailed Kite


 Freckled Duck



The Paroo catchment contains the entirety of Currawinya National Park (151, 300 hectares) as well as a very small portion of Mariala National Park.

Budjiti people are the traditional owners of the Currawinya Lakes area (near Hungerford).  This area is significant to the Budjiti people for its religious, social, cultural and economic values (Australian Heritage Commission, 2000).

Currawinya wetlands include five freshwater lakes, two saltwater lakes and many temporary small claypan lakes and swamps that appear following heavy rain.  On occasions, these wetlands can provide habitats for more than 250 000 water birds and the lakes form part of an inland route for migratory waters passing through arid Australia in Autumn (Australian Heritage Commission, 2000).

There are six wetlands within the Paroo Catchment listed on A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (3rd Edition) (Commonwealth of Australia 2001), as well as the Eulo Artesian Springs Supergroup which is a collection of more than forty springs scattered in the area south-west of Eulo (DNR 2000).