Snowy River increased flows

In determining how to use the environmental water recovered for the Snowy River through the Snowy Water Initiative, the New South Wales, Victorian and Commonwealth governments jointly agreed that ecological objectives would be achieved by storing and then releasing sufficient volumes to provide annual flushing flows. These high flows facilitate the improvement in the physical condition of the in-stream habitat by scouring and transporting fine sediment (i.e. primarily, sand, silt and clay). Meeting ecological objectives was identified as a high priority during the Snowy Water Inquiry. High flushing flows are important to improve river health. It is expected that as the river physically responds over time to the higher flows, the focus of the recovery process will transition to meet other ecological objectives.

2020–2021 Water year

A revised operational target of 91.5 gigalitres (GL) is to be released to the Snowy River during 2020–21 from Jindabyne Dam, which includes a base passing flow of 8.5 GL.

Table 1. Displays the four winter/spring high-flow releases
Release date Peak flow (megalitres/day)
Monday 29 June 3,500 megalitres/day*
Monday 27 July 1,600 megalitres/day*
Thursday 3 September 4,500 megalitres/day* (largest flow event)
Wednesday 28 October 1,500 megalitres/day*

* These high flow events are expressed as an equivalent flow rate. The peak flow rate will occur for eight hours so as to (i) mimic the flashy hydrology of the Snowy and to (ii) promote habitat improvement. These will occur from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm.

The department will issue 'rising river alerts' to relevant media organisations a few days prior to each of the four high-flow events.

Increased flows and targets

Rising river alerts