Temporary water restriction for Thule Creek - Murray below Mulwala Water Source
Reason for decision
In September 2019, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - Biodiversity and Conservation (DPIE BC) is planning on delivering held environmental water into two unregulated creeks of the Murray below Mulwala Water Source, the Tuppal and Thule Creeks.
DPIE BC has invested significantly over the past year on infrastructure upgrades ($1.2M) to enable improved delivery of environmental water to these creeks, in partnership with Murray Irrigation. This investment builds on many years of community engagement on the restoration of these creek systems using environmental water and has received widespread community support. The value of the water to be delivered equates to $17.5 M based on current temporary trade market prices. If water is extracted, this would risk environmental outcomes being achieved from the recent investment and longer term community engagement.
The Order will remain in place until 1 May 2020.
Reasons for decision
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 Thule Creek in the Murray below Mulwala Water Source as follows:
- Protection of this environmental water delivery will build on the significant investment in infrastructure upgrades ($1.2M), restoration of Tuppal and Thule creek systems and community engagement which has occurred over previous years. The project to improve the health of Tuppal and Thule Creeks has wide community support. It has been driven by local landholders, supported by recreational fishers and endorsed by the Environmental Water Advisory Group for the Murray-Lower Darling.
- Protection of this water delivery will facilitate DPIE BC achieving the following Long Term Watering Plan Objectives:
- support nutrient and carbon transport and productivity
- maintain the extent and improve the condition of waterbird habitats
- increase the distribution and/or expand the population of native fish
Vanessa O'Keefe, Executive Director, Policy, Planning and Sciences
23 August 2019