NSW water allocations reflect some easing after record drought conditions

Media release | 1 July 2021

Today’s opening water allocations announced by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for NSW licenced water users reflect continued recovery in available water resources across the state, Director of Water Planning Implementation, Allan Raine said.

“The start of the new water year sees much improved storage levels in state operated dams, resulting in enhanced water security for towns and critical needs, as well as good levels of access for most general security water users,” Mr Raine said.

“Commencing allocations for the new water year are very encouraging for most inland regions of the State - while the coastal catchments are generally fully allocated for the coming year.

“With continued water resource recovery, combined with good soil moisture for winter cropping, water availability across the entire Murray-Darling Basin is much improved at the commencement of this water year.

“Storage levels for WaterNSW operated dams, excluding the Snowy, total about 11,240 gigalitres, which is 64% of active storage capacity. This is 29% higher than this time last year.

“Many parts of the NSW coast experienced heavy rainfall during the early part of the year, with some coastal catchments recording new floods of record in March.

Mr Raine continued, saying that west of the range substantial flows in the Barwon-Darling river system post-Christmas had replenished dry river-beds and town weirs, resulting in large volumes of water arriving at the Menindee Lakes.

[“The Menindee system is currently 66% full, holding around 1,060 gigalitres (GL). This is enough to provide over 18 months security of supply for all high priority needs in the Lower Darling, including a 100% general security allocation this year and water for the environment.|]

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a high likelihood that at least average rainfall conditions will unfold for much of NSW during August to October.

While both days and nights during July to September are likely to be warmer than average across Australia.

“The department will continue to monitor conditions closely so that it can make timely announcements regarding changes to water availability and outlooks,” said Mr Raine.

Additional information on available water determinations can be found on the department’s website - www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/water