Temporary water restrictions to protect environmental water - Barwon-Darling water source

Media release | 27 April 2018

The NSW Department of Industry – Lands and Water today announced a further temporary water restriction order in the Barwon-Darling Unregulated River Water Source, stretching from the Queensland border to the Menindee Lakes, to protect environmental water releases.

The temporary water restrictions, which excludes town water supply, stock and domestic and basic landholder rights, will protect environmental water releases from the Border Rivers and Gwydir catchments and applies along the entire Barwon-Darling unregulated river system.

Commonwealth and NSW held environmental water will be released to enhance connectivity in the northern basin to improve riverine health, habitat, replenish residual pools and support native fish communities along the river system.

The operation will be complex and challenging as stored water is released from two separate valleys and choreographed over many weeks to provide benefit to high-value ecosystems along the Barwon-Darling river.

There is widespread support for the release of environmental water and it highlights the willing cooperation through all levels of government and the northern basin community. It also demonstrates an integration of water management across valleys with a view to achieving whole-of-system outcomes.

It is expected that this unique environmental watering release will provide lessons that will assist in further development of sophisticated water management systems to ensure that environmental outcomes are maintained and improved, without diminishing productivity or affecting communities.

This action is in direct response to criticisms last year regarding the management of environmental water in the Barwon-Darling system.

This temporary water restriction will remain inforce until 22 June 2018, unless it is repealed or modified.

In the event of sufficient natural flows entering the system, these restrictions can be suspended in limited circumstances so that licensees can take those natural flows if they would have otherwise been able to do so.

WaterNSW will continue to closely monitor the situation to provide data and advice to the department, which will inform any amendments.