Information for licence holders – active management

Active management is a new way to protect environmental water from extraction as it travels through some unregulated river systems in NSW. It is an outcome of the Water Reform Action Plan to manage environmental water better.

Active management identifies and protects environmental water from extraction that originates from:

  • held environmental water licences on the NSW environmental water register
  • planned environmental water protected by water sharing plans in the unregulated system
  • licence holders in the Barwon-Darling and Macquarie-Bogan unregulated systems that nominate to protect water.
Clouds and sun

Forecasts WaterNSW will provide a flow forecast on the WaterInsights portal. It will tell licence holders the likely timing and level of access for flows arriving in their system, and whether any active environmental water will require protection. Licence holders can use this information to determine whether they would like access and should submit an expression of interest.

Expressions of Interest If licence holders would like to access water during an event where environmental water is protected, they will fill out an expression of interest through the WaterNSW iWAS portal. The expression of interest will indicate which days access is required, how much the licence holder wishes to pump, and whether the licence holder wishes to extract or protect their water.

Computer access
Loudspeaker

Announcements WaterNSW will announce access for 24 hours or in some cases multiple days on the WaterInsights. LIcence holders must look up whether access is prohibited or allowed for their licences before they access water. Individual daily limits (Barwon-Darling management zones and Lower Macquarie Downstream Management zone only) will be shared privately with licence holders via iWAS.

Access Licence holders who wish to extract water must make sure they only pump up to their daily limit, as indicated on their licence conditions or announced via IWAS. These licences will continue to be debited based on extraction. Licence holders who wish to protect water will be debited up to their daily limit. This volume will be added to the other active environmental water that is protected as it moves down the river.

Water pump
Checklist

Monitoring and Review The National Resource Regulator (NRAR) will collect information to assess compliance by all licence holders and publish reports on overall compliance in the water source. DPIE Environment, Energy and Science (EES) will report on environmental outcomes and the volume of environmental water successfully protected each year. The WaterNSW WaterInsights portal will provide an overview of flows in the system over time. The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Water will lead an annual review of active management and consider recommendations, including input from licence holders, to improve active management processes over time.

Barwon-Darling

Changes to protect water for the environment in the Barwon-Darling were implemented in two phases. From 1st July 2020 licence holders are required to observe daily volumetric limits (called an Individual Daily Extraction Component (IDEC), resumption of flow rules and access announcements.

IDECs are a daily volumetric limit for each licence that protects against rapid extraction of flows as they travel down the system.

Water licence holders monitor the WaterInsights portal regularly for announcements to see if they can access water, instead of monitoring gauges to determine for themselves if access is allowed.

Resumption of flow rules protect the critical first flows after an extended low flow or dry period. WaterNSW restricts access to the first flow after an extended low flow or dry period until flow targets specified in the water sharing plan are reached, so it remains in the system until downstream flows are adequately established.

From the 1st of December 2020, WaterNSW identifies and protects active environmental water in all management zones as it moves through the Barwon-Darling unregulated system. Water licence holders must submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) if they wish to extract or protect water and need to monitor the public WaterInsights portal to determine if access is permitted or prohibited. WaterNSW announces daily flow shares for eligible licences if there is less water available than requested in a management zone.

Licence holders must also log into iWAS to see if WaterNSW has announced a daily flow share for their licence.

Lower Macquarie

Active management starts on the 1st of December 2020. From this date, WaterNSW identifies and protects any active environmental water arriving at Marebone Weir as it moves through the system to the Barwon-Darling in subsequent days.

Licence holders in the Lower Macquarie Upstream, Lower Macquarie Downstream, Lower Marthaguy and Gum Cowal management zones must submit an EoI in advance of the day they intend to access or protect water. Water licence holders in these management zones need to monitor the public WaterInsights portal to determine if access is permitted or prohibited.

Water licence holders in the Lower Macquarie Downstream management zones also need to log into iWAS to see if WaterNSW has announced a daily volumetric limit for their licence. The EoI system is online and available now. The announcement system is also online and is available from the 30th of November 2020.

Gwydir

Active management starts on the 1st of December 2020. From this date, WaterNSW identifies and protects active environmental water released from Copeton Dam and protects it as it moves through the Upper Gingham, Lower Gingham and Mallowa Creek management zones in subsequent days.

Water licence holders in these management zones will need to monitor the WaterInsights portal daily to determine if access is permitted or prohibited.

Please note, unlike the Macquarie-Bogan and the Barwon-Darling, licence holders in the Gwydir unregulated system cannot currently nominate to protect water.

More Information

For more information on active management, including information on active management policy and procedures, please view the Better Management of environmental water and WaterNSW. If you are a licence holder in a management zone that has active management, you should have received a notification of changed conditions for your licence.

  • WaterInsights Portal – WaterNSW public access announcements for licence holders
  • iWAS individual licence information, including daily flow share (Barwon-Darling) and volumetric limit (Lower Macquarie) access announcements.
AgencyTopicsLink

Water division of Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Information about water reform and the new rules to protect environmental water

Environment Water Hub

Environment, Energy and Science division of Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Detailed information about providing water for the environment and environmental outcome reporting

Water for the environment

The Natural Resources Access Regulator

Information about the Natural Resources Access Regulator and licence holder compliance

NRAR
WaterNSW

Operational information including announcements about when water can be accessed

WaterNSW

Email and hotline for licence holder enquiries

Customer.Helpdesk@waternsw.com.au

1300 662 077 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday