Australian Natural Resources Atlas

Natural Resource Topics

Water resources - Overview - Queensland

Location map of SWMA Russell River

Surface Water Management Area: Russell River



The Russell SWMA occupies an area of 668 sq km and is located in North Queensland in the wet tropics. Its primary river, the Russell River, originates in the Frances Range, not far from the highest mountain in Queensland, Mount Bartle Frere. It flows intitially through wet tropical rainforest and Bartle Frere before terminating at coastal plains. It joins the Mulgrave River at the outlet to the Coral Sea. The main water users in the SWMA are sugar cane growers. The rainfall in this wet tropical region is the highest in Australia with the mean annual rainfall for the period 1920 to 1969 ranging between 3200 and 4000 mm across the catchment.

Vital Statistics:

Area: 668 Km2
Total storage volume: no data
Total surface water use: 1,480 ML/yr
Development category: LOW DEVELOPMENT
Mean annual run-off: 2,131,965 ML/yr

A four-class classification system was developed to provide a simple method to communicate the status of the use and allocation of Australia's water resources in relation to sustainable water management.

It is important to recognise that adequately quantifying a sustainable flow regime or sustainable yield and consequent operating rules is a complex matter. State, Territory and scientific agencies continue to develop and apply methods and measures for determining sustainable flow regimes and sustainable yields.

This categorisation provides a general guide only. Please refer to the State and Territory Overview and Technical reports for detail on the analysis methods used.

CategoryDevelopment status
1<30% Low development
230 - 70% Moderate development
370 - 100% Highly developed
4100% Overdeveloped

* Water use as a percentage of sustainable flow regime (surface water) and sustainable yield (groundwater)


Sustainable Yield:

No sustainable yield studies are available for this SWMA. A Water Management Plan is currently being developed for this SWMA.



No sustainable yield studies are available for this SWMA.

This SWMA has a low level of development. A Water Management Plan is currently being developed for this SWMA to guide future development.

How saline are the surface water resources in the Russell River surface water management area?

No data were available about the salinity of surface water resources in the Basin / SWMA for the Australian Water Resources Assessment 2000.

Major water storages

Table: Major water storage areas:

There were no major water storages reported in this area as part of the assessment

Further Information


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