Water recovery & savings summary

Water recovery targets

Water for Rivers was the joint government enterprise established to develop water efficiency projects and other measures, including licence purchases, to recover the water for the three Increased Flows programs.

The Water for Rivers enterprise completed its task of securing enough water entitlements from the western rivers to achieve the target Increased Flows volumes in July 2012.

On completing a water efficiency project, the recovered water was converted into a water entitlement. These entitlements then receive water allocations into their water allocation accounts as available water determinations are made in each river system (i.e. from the location where the entitlement was recovered). The water in these accounts is then used to provide environmental releases for the Snowy, Snowy Montane and Murray Rivers.

While more than 308 GL of water entitlements have been recovered for the Snowy River, this does not directly equate into volumes of water available for release into the Snowy River. Depending on water availability in any season, a licensed entitlement holder in the western rivers is allocated a proportion of their entitlement to use that year. In many years that may be 100 per cent of entitlement, but in drier or drought years that proportion may be significantly reduced. This means that the volume of water available may be significantly lower than the total of entitlements under very dry conditions.

Snowy water savings summary

Each year, the water allocated to the recovered or purchased water entitlements is used to supply water to the Snowy River, Snowy Montane Rivers and the Murray River. These water allocations are apportioned between the Snowy and Murray Rivers in a 2:1 ratio, until the Snowy River receives 140 GL and the Murray River receives 70 GL. All further savings beyond this point are then allocated to the Snowy River (target 212 GL). These annual volumes are known as Snowy River Increased Flows (SRIF) and River Murray Increased Flows (RMIF). The allocations to the Snowy Montane rivers is called the Snowy Montane Rivers Increased Flows (SMIRF).

A summary of the entitlements and allocations to the individual savings measures, the cumulative volumes that have been apportioned to the Snowy and Murray Rivers, and the volumes that were apportioned each year to repay the Mowamba Borrowings Account (see case study description below) are shown in the Snowy Water Savings Summary Table - 1 March 2018 ((PDF 31.5 KB)).