Snowy Water Licence

Snowy Hydro Limited (SHL), the operator of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, issued with a package of agreements, licences and other regulatory instruments in preparation for corporatisation in 2002. One component of this package was the Snowy Water Licence issued on 30 May 2002 under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 (NSW).

The Snowy Water Licence defines SHL's water rights and obligations and strikes a balance between the competing demands for water for hydro-electricity generation and for the environment. The licence allows SHL to collect, divert, store, and release water by and from the works of the Snowy Mountains Scheme for the 75 year term of the licence. The licence also defines the rules for releases into the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers and imposes environmental flow release obligations on SHL for the benefit of the Snowy River and other montane rivers (the rivers of the Snowy Mountains).

For more information download the Snowy Water Licence – October 2011 (PDF, 415 KB).

Reviews of the Snowy Water Licence

The licence is subject to mandatory reviews under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 (the Act), initially after five years and then at intervals of 10 years. A five-year review was commenced in 2007 and completed in 2009.

The first 10-year mandatory review of the licence was commenced on 28 June 2017. Information briefings were held in Sydney and Melbourne during the submission period.

The review received 24 submissions from a range of stakeholders including SHL, government agencies, environmental groups, community groups and individuals.

Draft review report for public consultation

The NSW Government has released a draft report outlining the review’s preliminary findings and is currently inviting feedback from the public.

The draft report responds to issues raised in the submissions and proposes:

  • administrative amendments to the licence that will increase transparency, strengthen compliance and accountability and simplify provisions
  • a plan to investigate ways to improve the delivery of environmental flows and maximise water use efficiencies
  • appointing an expert panel to independently review the performance of both SHL and the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation in meeting licence conditions to date
  • improvements to how Snowy Mountains water resources are managed.

For more information:

Hard copies are also available from the following Department of Industry—Lands & Water offices:

  • Level 10 Macquarie Tower, 10 Valentine Avenue, Parramatta
  • Government Service Centre, 11 Farrer Place, Queanbeyan

Public information sessions

The department will hold four public information sessions on the review’s preliminary findings.

Fitzroy, Victoria Tuesday 12 June 2018
10 am – 12 pm
Charles Marshall Room, Melbourne Metropole
44 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Orbost, Victoria Wednesday 13 June 2018
10 am – 12 pm
Room 2, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
171-173 Nicholson Street, Orbost, VIC 3888
Cooma Thursday 14 June 2018
10 am – 12 pm
Functions room, Cooma Ex-Services Club
106 Vale Street, Cooma, NSW 2630
Sydney Friday 15 June 2018
10 am – 12 pm
Forresters room, Radisson Hotel & Suites
72 Liverpool Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Provide feedback on the draft report

To provide feedback on the draft report, send written submissions by 6 pm Friday 6 July 2018.

Please clearly mark written submissions ‘Submission to the Ten year review of the Snowy Water Licence’ and send it to the NSW Department of Industry via:


Mail: Snowy Water Licence Review
Intergovernmental and Strategic Stakeholder Relations
Department of Industry—Lands & Water
Locked Bag 5123
Parramatta NSW 2124

Unless otherwise requested, the department will publish all submissions on this website.

A summary of submissions and a final review report will be made available to the public upon the completion of the review process in the second half of 2018.

More information

Please contact if you would like:

  • more information on the review
  • to be kept informed of the review progress
  • to register interest in attending a public information session.