Upper and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Sources and NSW Border Rivers Repeal

Temporary restriction notice Temporary Water Restriction (Upper and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Sources and NSW Border Rivers) Repeal Order 2020
Licences affected Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi regulated river and Border Rivers - general security access licences
Date repeal started 25 February 2020
Status Current

Reason for Decision

Temporary Water Restriction (Upper and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Sources and NSW Border Rivers) Repeal Order 2020

Background

Under the Temporary Water Restriction (NSW Border Rivers) Order 2019 the general security water users on the NSW Border Rivers Water Source have been restricted from taking 50% of carryover held in accounts on 30 June 2019, since 1 July 2019.

Under the Temporary Water Restriction (Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Sources) Order 2019 water users in the Upper Namoi have been restricted from taking 25% of carryover held in accounts on 30 June 2019, since 1 July 2019. This Order was amended on 6 December 2019 to restrict water users from taking 100% of carryover held in accounts.

Under the Temporary Water Restriction (Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Sources) Order 2019 water users in the Lower Namoi have been restricted from taking 100% of carryover held in accounts on 30 June 2019, since 1 July 2019.

These restrictions were put in place:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”– due to very low inflow and high delivery loss there was insufficient resource to supply the full account complement of general security water, if essential supplies were to be maintained for 2019/20, and
  • due to a “threat to public health and safety” – supplies to critical human water needs would be under greater threat in the 2019/20 water year without intervention.

As a result of recent rainfall events and subsequent inflows water security has been restored, meaning the temporary water restriction applied in the public interest, is no longer required.

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.

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.

Due to periods of heavy rainfall since mid-January and substantial inflows, there has been adequate recovery in storages to support higher priority needs through to the end of next summer.

Pindari Dam volume has risen from 12.5 GL to 28.5 GL as at 25 February 2020. Glenlyon Dam volume also has increased from 8.6 GL to 36 GL. The existing order prohibits access to half of 4.6 GL general security water held in account. The improvement in the Pindari Dam volume and the town water weirs on NSW Border Rivers mean that we can now supply the restricted 2.3 GL without negatively impacting the security of essential supplies.

Split Rock Dam volume has increased from 6.8 GL to 18 GL. The restricted general security account balance of 1.4 GL can now be supplied from Manilla River, inflow from unregulated Namoi River or with minimal delivery loss on top of current releases from the dam.

Keepit Dam volume has risen from dead storage to 50.7 GL . Of relevance, the households on the Pian Creek have been supplied from this month’s rainfall runoff with no further need for the next 6 months or more. The restricted general security account balance is 12.6 GL (of which 0.5 GL is non consumptive held environmental water). The estimated pumping demand will be less than 4 GL once the restriction is removed. This demand can be fulfilled from the uncontrolled flow and the replenished Gunidgerra (1GL) and Mollee (2GL) Weirs. The delivery of general security water from high river flows and the weirs along the river reduces high conventional delivery loss from the dam.

In these circumstances, water security has been restored, meaning the temporary water restrictions applied in the public interest, are no longer required.  It is therefore now in the public interest to repeal the temporary water restriction orders.

Accordingly, the section 324 orders on access to general security account water in the Border River, Upper and Lower Namoi Rivers are being repealed.

Vanessa O'Keefe

Executive Director - Policy, Planning and Sciences

25 February 2020