The North-West Flow Plan
The Interim Unregulated Flow Management Plan for the North-West (PDF, 245.35 KB) (the ‘North-West Flow Plan’) was drafted by the department in 1992 after a significant algal bloom occurred in the Barwon-Darling River.
The North-West Flow Plan recognised the importance of inflows from the main Barwon-Darling tributary valleys (i.e. Border Rivers, Gwydir, Namoi and Macquarie) in maintaining sufficient water quality and quantity for people and the environment in the Barwon-Darling River.
The North-West Flow Plan limits access to supplementary flows in the northern Basin tributaries, and B- and C-class flows in the Barwon-Darling River until particular fish, algal suppression and riparian rights targets in the Barwon-Darling River are met.
The requirement to meet the North-West Flow Plan targets was added to the relevant water sharing plans for the northern Basin and included in NSW’s water resource plans, but it hasn’t been implemented.
The department recently engaged Alluvium Consulting to conduct a review of the North-West Flow Plan targets and analyse flow data to provide advice on how limiting supplementary and B- and C-class access contributes to meeting the flow targets.
The department is currently considering options for implementing the North-West Flow Plan, including:
- updating the flow targets incorporate more recent research into low flow, fish and water quality thresholds in the Barwon-Darling River and better align with the Barwon-Darling Long-term Water Plan
- interactions with other northern Basin connectivity work currently being developed by the department (e.g. the Better Baaka program and the Western Regional Water Strategy)
- interactions with the resumption of flows rule (PDF, 340.08 KB) and active management in the Barwon-Darling water source
- interactions with the Water Sharing Plan for the NSW Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source Order 2021 (clause 73)
- opportunities for further consultation with stakeholders and partner agencies.