Repeal of temporary water restriction for Namoi and Macquarie water sources
Reasons for decision
Temporary water restrictions, restricting certain takes from the Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Source, the lower parts of the Namoi Unregulated Rivers Water Sources and the lower parts of the Macquarie Bogan Unregulated Water Sources were made on 31 March 2019 under section 324 of the Water Management Act 2000 (the section 324 order).
These restrictions were put in place to protect inflows for essential needs (including town water supplies, stock and domestic and basic landholder rights) and to enable delivery of high security water to entitlement holders. The restrictions were also put in place for environmental purposes: to provide a connection of the Namoi River, and separately the Macquarie River to the stem of the Barwon River.
The section 324 order is now being repealed.
Reasons for decision
Temporary water restriction – section 324
Section 324 of the Water Management Act 2000 (the Act) allows the Minister or her 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.
The section 324 order is no longer required for the following reasons:
- Town water supplies, notably Walgett weir pool, have been replenished from recent flows that were protected from extraction. A further protected environmental flow from the Gwydir and Border Rivers valleys is expected to provide further flow in the near future.
- Critical water supplies, including for domestic and stock were made accessible by protecting water from extraction.
- Environmental outcomes that were sought for the Namoi and Macquarie Rivers were achieved, including connecting the Namoi and Macquarie catchments with the Barwon River and watering local pools and refugia for fish and in-stream and riparian vegetation.
- Current rainfed flows are too small to benefit the full length of the Namoi River or the Barwon-Darling.
Accordingly, the section 324 order is being repealed. The repeal will enable smaller farm operations to access minor flows and plant winter or fodder crops, which have not had access to water for a significant period, assisting stock and the farming community through the drought.
The department and WaterNSW will continue to monitor the situation and the need for water restrictions following rainfall events, to secure and deliver water to the highest priority needs in accordance with the NSW Extreme Events Policy and WaterNSW operations plans.
Rachel Connell, Executive Director, Department of Industry–Water
6 May 2019