Temporary Water Restriction - Dingo Creek

Reason for Decision

Temporary Water Restriction (Dingo Creek Water Source) Order 2019


The Dingo Creek flows into the Manning River which supplies water for towns, including Taree, in the Mid Coast council area. Rainfall totals across the Lower North Coast catchment have been “very much below average” for the past 24 months, resulting in historically low flows in the Manning river catchment.

Mid Coast council area has a population of 67,000 and is on Level 4 water restrictions with less than 3 months surface water supply available.

Protection of low flows during drought is essential to provide water for basic landholder and higher priority licences e.g. stock and domestic, local water utility, and to ensure instream connectivity and ecological requirements are satisfied.

The description of flow classes for the Dingo creek water source in the Water Sharing Plan for the Lower North Coast Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2009 refers to the Dingo creek at Munyaree Flat gauge (208019) which ceased operation 23 March 2011. Gauge 208019 was replaced by 208032 Dingo Creek at Belbourie which commenced operation 3 September 2011.

Daily flows are available for the Dingo Creek on the WaterNSW real time data portal here or via the WaterNSW Water Live App for Android and Apple.

An amendment is required for the Water Sharing Plan to put into effect the cease to pump conditions with reference to the new gauge 208032. Without this amendment, there are no enforceable conditions to restrict take from very low flows by unregulated licence holders in the Dingo creek water source.

This temporary restriction will address the issue of no enforceable conditions by applying simplified cease to pump conditions with reference to the new gauge 208032, until the Water Sharing Plan is amended.

The restriction does not apply to take of water under an access licence for which clause 1 of Schedule 2 of the WSP applies, take of water using runoff harvesting dam or from in-river dam pool, take of water from a runoff-harvesting dam and incidental take as a result of an aquifer interference activity.

Reasons for Decisions

Temporary water restriction – section 324

Section 324 of the Water Management Act 2000 (the Act) allows the Minister or delegate to order that temporary water restrictions within a water source(s) are to have effect for a specified period, if these 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”.

Based on the information outlined in the Background section, there is a public interest in making an order to restrict take in the Dingo creek Water Source as follows:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”– Protection of low flows in Dingo creek is essential to provide water for basic landholder and higher priority licences e.g. stock and domestic, local water utilities in the Lower North Coast water Source.
  • “threat to public health and safety” – Reduction in flows as a result of unlawful extraction upstream, increases the likelihood of lower quality water in the downstream reaches of the creek. Poor quality excludes the use of water for domestic purposes under basic landholder rights and increases the risk of fish kills and other harmful impacts on native fauna.

Accordingly, this s.324 order is being made to prohibit take:

  • By holders of unregulated river access licences and aquifer access licences in the Dingo Creek water source when the flow at Dingo Creek at Belbourie gauge (208032) is less than or equal to 4.4 ML/day.

The restriction will be in place from the date of gazette to 30 June 2020; however, can be repealed prior to this date when the Water Sharing Plan has been amended.

Allan Raine

A/Director Water Planning Implementation

18 December 2019