Cockburn River water connectivity study progressing

Media release | 3 September 2021

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment today released a progress report into the water connectivity study being undertaken on the Cockburn River to assess interaction between surface and groundwater.

Anna Bailey, Director Coastal and Groundwater Planning, said the study was designed to look at the relationship between groundwater extraction and surface water pool quantity and quality.

“The study is the result of feedback from water users during consultation on the Namoi Alluvium Water Resource Plan in 2019,” said Mrs Bailey.

“It was evident from the consultation that greater knowledge of surface water and groundwater interaction within the Cockburn River alluvial management zone was required before changes to water access rules could be considered.

“The Natural Resources Commission review of the Peel water sharing plan in May 2020 also included several recommendations for the Cockburn River, including better understanding surface water and groundwater connectivity.

“The review acknowledged the department had already commenced a study to inform access rules and recommended the outcomes of the study inform amendments to access rules in the water sharing plan.

“The information obtained as a result of this study will be considered by the department in developing and recommending new groundwater access rules in close consultation with stakeholders.

Mrs Bailey continued, saying the progress report released today provides information on study sites, data collected to date and what will happen next.

“The data collection phase of the study is now complete. The next step is to see what the data tells us about how groundwater extractions impact the riverine environment.

“We anticipate the final phase of the study will be completed later this year, at which time we will share the findings with water users and other interested stakeholders,” Mrs Bailey said.

To find out more, view the Cockburn River groundwater and surface water connectivity study – progress report