Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source
|Temporary restriction notice||Temporary Water Restriction (Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source) Amendment Order 2019 |
Temporary Water Restrictions (Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source) Amendment Order No. 2 2019
|Licences affected||Regulated river (general security) access licences|
|Date restriction started||4 December 2018|
|Date restriction ends||30 June 2020|
|Status||Repealed 30 March 2020|
Reason for Decision
Temporary Water Restrictions (Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source) Repeal Order 2020
Under the Temporary Water Restrictions (Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source) Order 2018 (as amended), all water take from the Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source has been restricted, unless use has been for town water supply, domestic use, stock watering, irrigation of existing permanent plantings (such as vineyards and orchards).
The restriction was put in place:
- “to cope with a water shortage” - remaining water supplies in the Lower Darling were at critically low levels and had to be protected for high priority needs and permanent plantings for as long as possible. Timing of the next inflow was unknown.
- in relation to “threat to public health and safety” - town water supply and domestic supplies are crucial for public health and safety and were under threat without intervention. These mitigation measures were needed to extend supplies until additional inflows arrive.
As a result of recent rainfall events across the northern NSW Murray Darling Basin and subsequent inflows, flow forecasts (as at 23 March) indicate that Lake Wetherell will receive 290 – 355 GL over the coming weeks, with flows arriving from 10 March. There is forecast to be enough water captured in the Menindee system to provide connectivity to the Murray and deliver high priority needs, including critical environmental needs, along the Lower Darling for at least 12-18 months.
The repeal of the restriction will allow full allocation to high priority needs including town water, stock and domestic, and high security. Current water frozen in general security accounts in the Lower Darling is 14.8 GL, and about 100 GL/year is needed to run the Lower Darling at seasonal minimums to maintain connectivity with the Murray River, therefore the extra water to deliver the account balance in 2019/20 would not unduly increase resource security risk. This means that the temporary water restriction applied in the public interest, is no longer required.
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.
Section 43 (2) of the Interpretation Act 1987 provides that the power to make an order under an Act includes the power to repeal the order.
Due to periods of heavy rainfall in the northern basin since mid-January and substantial inflows, there is forecast to be adequate recovery in the Menindee Lakes system to support high priority needs through to at least the end of next summer, likely longer.
In these circumstances, water security has been restored, meaning the temporary water restriction applied in the public interest, is no longer required. It is therefore now in the public interest to repeal the temporary water restriction order.
Accordingly, the section 324 order on access in the Lower Darling Regulated Water Source is repealed, including for high security and general security account water.
Executive Director - Policy, Planning and Sciences
27 March 2020