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.

2019–2020 Water year

A revised operational target of 118.7 gigalitres (GL) is to be released to the Snowy River during 2019–20 from Jindabyne Dam, which includes a base passing flow of 8.5 GL.

Table 1. Displays the five winter/spring high-flow releases
Release date Volume (megalitres/day)
Friday 28 June 3,561 megalitres/day*
Thursday 25 July 1,936 megalitres/day*
Tuesday 3 September 2,199 megalitres/day*
Wednesday 30 October 5,000 megalitres/day* (largest flow event)
Thursday 14 November 2,188 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 five high-flow events.

Increased flows and targets

Rising river alerts

There are a total of five ‘rising river alerts’ to be issued during the course of the scheduled winter/spring 2019 high-flow releases. Each alert will appear below once issued.