Repeal of temporary water restrictions for Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Source

Reasons for decision

Temporary Water Restriction (Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Sources) Repeal Order 2018

and

Access Licence Dealing Principles (Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi Regulated Rivers Water Sources) Repeal Order 2018

Background

Water is allocated taking into account minimal future inflows and making provision for expected delivery loss. The Namoi catchment has been experiencing record low inflows and excessive delivery loss. In early November, WaterNSW (WNSW) predicted a shortfall in meeting essential and high security needs. A temporary water restriction and trade restriction were announced on 13 November to manage the delivery shortfall. The subsequent rainfall in the third week of November improved the otherwise dry river bed and allowed a relaxation of the restriction on 27 November.

Fortunately as a result of wet weather in the past week, WNSW has identified about 1,100 ML of extra water in the river below Keepit Dam that can be redistributed to water users. This volume is additional to flow that is being sent toward Walgett in the hope of achieving some town weir pool replenishment in the coming weeks.

The lifting of the temporary water restriction and trade restriction will allow access and productive use of the additional flows which would otherwise be lost through seepage and evaporation over time.

Reasons for decision

Repealing temporary water restriction – section 324

Section 324 of the Water Management Act 2000 (the Act) allows the Minister or his delegate to direct, by order, that temporary water restrictions within a water source(s) have effect for a specified period, if these restrictions are determined to be in the public interest.

Based on the information outlined in the Background section, continuation of the restrictions will prohibit the immediate opportunity of water access without improving the overall shortfall of water behind the dams, which is contrary to public interest.

Repealing Prohibition of trade - section 71Z

Section 71Z of the Act allows the Minister or his delegate to, by order, establish Access Licence Dealing Principles (ALDPs) to regulate or prohibit the kinds of dealings that may be effected under Division 4 of Part 2, Chapter 3 of the Act.

The trade restriction was required to complement the temporary water restriction. The restriction is no longer necessary on the basis that the temporary water restriction is to be lifted.

Rachel Connell, Executive Director, Department of Industry - Water

18 December 2018