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 sought feedback from the public between 30 May and 6 July 2018.

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

The NSW Government received 16 submissions on the draft report and will consider these responses in finalising the review’s final recommendations.

It will also develop a detailed implementation plan, which outlines how these adjustments and other forward work, will be carried out. This implementation plan will be included in the final review report, which will be released by the end of 2018.

Submissions received

The views expressed in the submissions are the views of the respondents. While the department seeks to ensure that defamatory material is not published, the department is not responsible for the views expressed in the submissions.

The following submissions were received during the first round in 2017.

The following submissions were received on the draft report in 2018.

More information

Please contact snowylicence.review@dpi.nsw.gov.au if you would like:

  • more information on the review
  • to be kept informed of the review progress.