Temporary water restriction for Barwon River upstream of Mungindi weir

Reason for Decision

Temporary Water Restriction (Barwon River upstream of Mungindi weir) Order 2019
(section 324 order)

Background

The NSW Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source is currently in Drought Stage 4 under the NSW Extreme Events Policy, exhibiting severe water shortage. Due to the ongoing drought and record low inflows, Pindari and Glenlyon Dams are currently less than 6 percent and 5 percent respectively. Evaporation and transmission losses have been, and are expected to continue to be, very high.

A temporary water restriction is currently in place to restrict access to 50% of carryover in accounts on 30 June 2019 by general security access licences (Class A and Class B). This restriction is required to reserve remaining water for critical human and high priority needs.

Mungindi is currently on Level 3 restrictions and assessed as having less than 6 months water supply available. The town will be moving to an increased level of restriction by the end of October 2019.

This order may be amended or repealed before 30 June 2020.

Reasons for Decision

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 domestic and stock licence and Basic Landholder Rights take in the Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source on the Barwon River upstream of Mungindi as follows:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”– Due to limited system inflows and minimum releases from Pindari dam the Mungindi weir pool level will continue to decrease.
  • “threat to public health and safety” – currently Mungindi are supplementing the town water supplies with artesian water which is high in sodium. It is important surface water supplies are maintained as long as possible to try and avoid the situation where town supplies are sourced entirely form artesian water.

Accordingly, this temporary water restriction order is being made to restrict access for:

  • Domestic and stock access licence holders and Basic Landholder Rights users in the NSW Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source on the Barwon River upstream of Mungindi to the same restriction level as Mungindi town water users when taking water for domestic purposes.

The restriction will be in place from 30 October 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Emma Solomon, Acting / Executive Director, Department of Policy Planning and Sciences

28 October 2019