The Alberga River came to life for the first time in 18 months thanks to torrential rain

For the first time in a year and a half, water flowed through the Alberga River in South Australia.
The river, also called Alberga Creek, is located in the far north of southern Australia, near the border with Northern Territory. It is part of the Lake Eyre basin.

The river was dry until this week’s heavy rain.

For the first time in 18 months, water flowed through the Alberga River in South Australia.
For the first time in 18 months, water flowed through the Alberga River in South Australia. (Withersone/Gillian Fennel)

Local farmer Jillian Fennell told Weatherzone that she recorded at least 38 millimeters of rain in her local gauge this week, with rain continuing to fall on and off this afternoon.

Ms. Fennel owns a million-acre farm that usually contains about 5,000 head of cattle.

But due to the ongoing dry period, that number has dropped to about 3,500.

With wet weather allowing the Alberga River to flow, Ms Fennells said it would help livestock and vegetation.

She added that the livestock will soon be able to feed on the grass in addition to the local herbs and mulga.

“The plan is to allow native grasses to set seed before tending them, where possible, so that we can ensure the next generation of grass,” Ms Fennell.

The river was dry until this week's heavy rain.
The river was dry until this week’s heavy rain. (Withersone/Gillian Fennel)

“We will see a lot of local herbs growing and planting in the next month or two. In about 10 months we should see a lot of baby calves.

“With summer coming we’ll see some good growth in the forage, water wells full and every molga fresh.”

Ms Fennell said the new influx of water into the river would also lead to changes in the environment.

“The frogs will spawn, the lizards will hatch (all laid four to six weeks ago), the birds will reproduce. The river is running so that all the big ghost gums live,” said Ms. Fennell.

Although rain is welcome, locals like Ms Fennell said more was needed.

The nearest weather station of the Met Office in Marla recorded only 234.4 mm of annual rainfall in the area.

But Ms Fennell said every drop counts.

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“I want to stress that this is not rain that breaks drought,” Ms Fennell said.

“Because we live in the desert, we will see a good response, but we have been disabled for more than four years. The environment will not recover properly and will not be able to suffer long periods of drought until that is addressed.”

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