Macquarie Regulated River Water Source Amendment
|Temporary restriction notice||Temporary Water Restriction (Macquarie Regulated River) Amendment Order 2020|
|Licences affected||General security water access licence holders|
|Date restriction started||1 July 2020|
|Date restriction ends||30 September 2020|
|Status||Repealed – 14 August 2020|
Reason for Decision
On 1 July 2019 the Temporary Water Restriction (Macquarie Regulated River) Order 2019 came into effect, restricting access to all general security water remaining in accounts as of 30 June 2019 for those licence holders taking from the Macquarie and Cudgegong Regulated Rivers Water Source downstream of Burrendong Dam (the Macquarie Regulated River Water Source). On 4 July 2019, clauses in the Water Sharing Plan for the Macquarie and Cudgegong Regulated Rivers Water Source 2016 were suspended. These regulatory actions were taken to secure water for critical needs.
TheMacquarie Regulated River Water Source was at Drought Stage 4 under the NSW Extreme Events Policy, exhibiting critical water shortage. Due to the ongoing drought and record low inflows, Burrendong Dam was at less than 6% total capacity when the restriction was made, falling to 1.5% in early February.
As a result of significant inflows in April, there is now enough resource to repeal suspended water sharing plan rules, provide full allocation to all high priority products; including town water, domestic, stock and high security entitlements, and ease the temporary water restriction on general security water users.
The total inflow into Burrendong Dam since February has been in excess of 231,000 megalitres (ML), with total storage at 278, 000ML (21.12%) capacity. Macquarie River drought criticality has been eased from Stage 4 (Critical) to Stage 3 (Severe). All critical human and environmental needs are secured.
As a result of this system recovery the Temporary Water Restriction (Macquarie Regulated River) Order 2019 has been amended to allow general security water users to access no more than 40% of water held in accounts (60% to remain frozen). The expiry date of the restriction has been extended from 30 June 2020 to 30 September 2020.
The expiry date of the restriction has been extended from 30 June 2020 to 30 September 2020 because Burrendong Dam usually receives higher inflow during winter and early spring. No major irrigation demand is expected prior to October. The department will be able to undertake further assessment (aiming to relax further if possible) by the end of September and make further decisions regarding access based on inflows.
The water sharing plan suspension expired on 30 June 2020, which now allows Environmental Water Allowance use to resume.
This amendment continues to allow the trade of frozen general security carryover water, but prohibits buyers of the frozen general security carryover water from taking or using it.
The temporary restriction does not apply to the take of water for testing metering equipment of up to a total of 1ML for pumps larger than 500mm and 0.5ML for all other works. The duly qualified persons testing metering equipment will be required to notify NRAR within 24 hours of any take for testing.
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 above information, there is a public interest in making an amendment order to restrict take in the Macquarie Regulated River Water Source as follows:
- “to cope with a water shortage” - while there has been some system recovery in the Macquarie Regulated River Water Source, the valley is in Drought Stage 3 and so there is still insufficient resource to supply full general security carryover water and meet higher priority requirements
- “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 to limit carryover access
Burrendong Dam volume rose from 1.5% on early February this year to 21% by May. In excess of 231 GL of inflow arrived since February. Critical human and environmental needs are secured. The temporary water restriction has therefore been amended to allow general security water users to access no more than 40% of water held in accounts (60% to remain frozen).
The expiry date of the restriction has been extended from 30 June 2020 to 30 September 2020 because Burrendong Dam usually receives higher inflow during winter and early spring period. No major irrigation demand is expected prior to October. The department will be able to undertake further assessment (aiming to relax further if possible) by the end of September and make further decisions regarding access based on further inflows.
Flows and conditions will be monitored. Water users will be kept up to date with the prospects of water access through water user forums, drought engagement meetings and water allocation statements.
Acting Director - Planning Implementation
26 June 2020