Bone Dry in parts of Queensland

Suellen Hinde - Queensland Editor |

Eastern Queensland has received less than half its average rainfall so far this year, with parts of the state remaining bone dry as summer draws to a close.

But there is still hope for a wet March, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Both the Central Highlands around Emerald and Biloela in the Banana Shire have had little rain since the start of 2022.

A picture of the Comet River Overflow in Central Queensland taken on February 16 gives an indication of the lack of rain.

Comet River Overflow
the Comet River was flooded this time last year but not so far in 2022

Storages remain low in these areas, with the Fairburn Dam near Emerald at 21 per cent and the Callide Dam at 35 per cent according to local authorities.

The Fairburn Dam, which holds water for the Nogoa Mackenzie water scheme, fell to a historical low last year of 8 per cent at around the same time.

Fairburn Dam spillway

The Callide Dam near Biloela is only at 35 per cent according to the Banana Shire Council Mayor Nev Ferrier because Sunwater is doing maintenance on the gates.

Elsewhere in the Banana Shire the Kroombit Dam is at 0.98 per cent, but the Mayor was not concerned saying this is only a small agricultural dam.

Despite the lack of water, Cr Ferrier said water restrictions were yet to be put in place. 

“We are not panicking,” Cr Ferrier said.

“It’s drying out in places, but we still have a fair bit of grass.

“We get our water from the power station at Gladstone and there is quite a bit of bore water and heaps of weirs running on the Dawson (River).”

The wettest areas in Queensland in January were the Far North, the Peninsula, and falls were above average in the West and parts of Wide Bay after ex-tropical Cyclone Seth made landfall on 7 January.

Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall map for January

Wivenhoe Dam in South East Queensland had an increase in storage volume during January but is still well below full capacity according to the Bureau.

“It remains likely that much of Queensland will see above average rainfall in March,” a BOM spokesperson said.

“Overall Queensland experienced an early start to the wet season with a very wet November – it was the state’s seventh wettest on record but since then rainfall has returned to average.

“Compared to average rainfall, generally western parts of Queensland were above average in January, and eastern parts were below average.”

Observations and Climate models suggest the La Nina weather event has peaked. Outlooks indicate the La Niña is likely to end in mid-autumn 2022. While this event has peaked, it is still likely contributing to the wetter than median outlooks for parts of northern and eastern Australia.