First advice from new Snowy Advisory Committee on water flows

Media release | 28 February 2019

The first advice from the new Snowy Advisory Committee (SAC) about environmental water flows from the Snowy River has been delivered to the NSW Government this month.

Rachel Connell, Executive Director, Department of Industry-Water, said the Committee was formed last year to deliver independent, expert and community advice on the Snowy and Montane rivers to the Government.

"The first task of the Committee has been to advise the NSW Government on the Snowy River environmental water strategies for 2019-2020. The Committee has supported high flow events to take place during winter and spring of 2019, with the largest flow scheduled to help flush the river system in October.

“That advice will help ensure that one of Australia’s most picturesque mountain rivers continues to flow, benefitting the community, our tourism and other industries and the natural environment in the high country,” Ms Connell said.

The eight member Committee was formed in mid-2018 to guide the NSW Government’s management of water flows out of the Snowy Hydro Scheme and into the Snowy River catchment and several Montane rivers within Kosciuszko National Park.

Chaired by the honorary ANU Associate Professor Terry Bailey, the Committee is made up of local community, environmental, Aboriginal and representatives from the NSW and Victorian Governments, ensuring a range of viewpoints and stakeholders are considered.
Ms Connell said due to the drought there will be less water available than in recent years for environmental flows, however the pattern of water released during these flow events will still achieve positive environmental outcomes for the Snowy and Montane Rivers.

“Regular flushing helps deliver better environmental outcomes within the Snowy River, with positive effects throughout the ecosystem that relies on the Snowy.

“I congratulate Professor Bailey and the other Committee members for delivering this blueprint for the coming year, helping ensure the Snowy continues to flow, grow and thrive, for the benefit of all. This advice forms the basis of instructions to Snowy Hydro for environmental releases to be made under its annual water operating plan for 2019-20,” Ms Connell said.

Professor Bailey thanked the committee members for their work, saying while their advice seeks the best outcome for the environment, they are developing an advice framework that will pursue social and economic benefits where they are compatible with achieving environmental outcomes.

“Importantly, we are also considering how to be more inclusive of Aboriginal culture and heritage,” he said.

Snowy Pinch Falls - Photo credit:  NSW Dept of Industry