Snowy Water Initiative

The Snowy Water Initiative was formally established in 2002 to achieve significant improvements in river health by releasing environmental water into the Snowy, upper Murrumbidgee, and upper Murray river systems. At the commencement of the Snowy Water Initiative, the NSW, Victorian and Commonwealth governments and Snowy Hydro Limited have invested $1.2 billion in water recovery infrastructure upgrades, water management and science to allow environmental water to be released to these Snowy water sources.

The Snowy Water Inquiry Outcomes Implementation Deed (SWIOID) 2002 is a legal instrument that the three partner governments entered into to give effect to the outcomes of the public Snowy Water Inquiry in 1998 and the corporatisation of the Snowy Scheme. The deed includes the water recovery targets for the Snowy, Murray and Snowy Montane Rivers Increased Flows programs.

Targets for the Increased Flows programs include returning the following volumes of water each year:

  • Snowy River – 212 gigalitres (GL), or 21 per cent of the average natural flow
  • Murray River – 70 GL
  • Snowy Montane Rivers – up to the equivalent of up to 150 gigawatt hours of forgone electricity generation, which equates to up to 117.8 GL.
  1. Water recovery & savings summary

    Information about water efficiency projects and other measures, including licence purchases, to recover the water for the three Increased Flows programs.

  2. Snowy River Increased Flows

    Information about Snowy River releases for ecological flushing and flow requirements for cultural water, including the current year's release strategy.

  3. Snowy Montane Rivers Increased Flows

    Details on environmental releases into high altitude rivers whose flows are significantly affected by the operation of the Snowy Scheme, including the current year's release strategy.

  4. Planning for Increased Flows and Snowy Cultural Water

    Details the historic operational release targets and cultural flows for the Snowy River and Snowy Montane Rivers.