Amended temporary water restrictions for the Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source

Reason for decision

Temporary Water Restrictions (Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source) Amendment Order 2019

Background

A temporary water restriction has been in place in the Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source since 4 December 2018. Gazettal of reasons for decision are available online.

Extremely dry conditions have continued, with summer inflows failing to eventuate. This, combined with above average temperatures and high evapotranspiration rates, means that the Lower Darling remains at Drought Stage 4 - critical water shortage under the NSW Extreme Events Policy. Remaining resources must be dedicated to the highest priority needs including town water supply, stock and domestic and permanent plantings.

The amendment to the Temporary Water Restriction Order continues to restrict the use of any available water to high priority needs and permanent plantings but irrigation from Copi Hollow will no longer be permitted.

The order may be modified or repealed prior to 30 June 2020.

This measure is consistent with the NSW Extreme Events Policy.

Reasons for decision

Temporary water restriction – section 324

Section 324 of the Water Management Act 2000 (Act) allows the Minister or her delegate to direct, by order, that temporary water restrictions within a water source(s) have effect for a specified period, if the restrictions are determined to be in the public interest. Examples of the public interest referred to in section 324(1) include “to cope with a water shortage, threat to public health or safety or to manage water for environmental purposes”.

There is public interest in making an order to restrict take in the Lower Darling as follows:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”  - Remaining water supplies in the Lower Darling are at critically low levels and must be protected for high priority needs and permanent plantings for as long as possible. Timing of the next inflow is unknown.
  • “threat to public health and safety” - town water supply and domestic supplies are crucial for public health and safety and are under threat without intervention. These mitigation measures are needed to extend supplies until additional inflows arrive.

This amendment order will extend the current s324 order until 30 June 2020. From 1 July 2019, irrigation from Copi Hollow will also be restricted.

Rachel Connell, Executive Director, Department of Industry–Water

26 June 2019

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