The Broken River is one of the tributaries of the Goulburn River in
north-eastern Victoria. The River Basin named after it also includes
the catchment of Broken Creek which diverges from the Broken River and flows in a north-westerly direction to the
Murray River. The Basin covers 772,386 hectares.
Total Water Resource (ML)
Total Use (ML)
Land and Stream Network
The Basin contains two connected stream networks, that of the Broken
River in the southern half and the Broken Creek in the north.
In the far south of the Basin, the Broken River flows westward from its
sources in the deeply dissected Tolmie Highlands, then swings to the
north near Mt Strathbogie before entering Lake Nillahcootie. The
Broken River continues north through undulating farmland towards
Benalla and takes in the waters of Moonee, Blind, Holland and Ryans
Creeks. North of Benalla the
Broken River swings to the west and overflows to the effluent Broken
Creek. It then continues on a westward course across the riverine
plain and joins the Goulburn River just south of Shepparton.
Broken Creek flows north through a swampy area, then swings to the west
and takes in the waters of Boosey Creek at Katamatite. It meanders
westward past Nathalia and joins the Murray River upstream from Barmah.
Rainfall and Surface Hydrology
The average annual rainfall is highest at Mt Strathbogie and in the
Tolmie Highlands in the south of the Basin. Above approximately 750m,
light snowfalls are fairly regular in winter. From the higher
plateaux, mean annual rainfall decreases to about 55% of that at Mt
Strathbogie on the Benalla Plain. Rainfall generally continues to
decrease northward. Across the far northern section, rainfall
generally increases from the west to the east. Reliability of rainfall
varies notably over the Basin, being greatest in the elevated areas of
high water production, such as on the Tolmie Highlands, and lowest on
the plains. Generally in the plains region, summer is hot and winter
mild. Streamflow within the Broken River Basin is extremely variable
over the seasons of the year, and between years. The three months July
to September account for over half of average annual flow.
For the southern portion of the Basin, in the highlands, shallow
aquifers occur in the Palaeozoic basement rocks of folded sediments,
metamorphic and granite, whereas in the northern portion of the Basin,
in the riverine plain, the shallow aquifer is a complex network of
shoestring sands of the Shepparton Formation. The deep aquifer system
is restricted to the north of the Basin in the buried sand sheet of the
Groundwater quality varies throughout the Basin. Divertible resources lie mostly in the far
north and the south of the Basin with these areas containing good quality water. The minor resources in the Basin are generally located in the
central region and quality is generally brackish.
Most of the Basin has been cleared for agriculture which supports
grazing in the south, and mixed cereal and livestock farming in the
central region. A large part of the northern section of the Basin is
within the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, with irrigation for
fruit growing, dairying and livestock production.
Surface Water Quality
Water quality varies from good to poor across the Broken basin. Refer to the River Health website for the latest information.
Broken Water Storages
The Broken River has one major storage, Lake Nillahcootie. Water can be released progressively from this storage to supplement flows in the Lower Broken River and via the Lower Goulburn River to the Murray River