Report on Lower Darling water security options released

Media release | 26 October 2018

The NSW Department of Industry – Water today released a report on options for water security in the Lower Darling arising from the proposed Menindee Lakes Water Savings Project.

The pre-feasibility report was compiled by Deloitte and was developed in consultation with landholders and the community from the Lower Darling region. It investigates six options to address water security against four criteria including: water supply; cost effectiveness; environment, heritage and recreation; and the implementation of each option.

The report finds there are a number of options for governments to consider to address water security impacts should the Menindee Lakes Water Savings Project go ahead as currently outlined in the concept proposal.

Executive Director Water, Rachel Connell said that the NSW Government commissioned the report to inform discussions on the Menindee Lakes project.

“We are committed to engaging with stakeholders and the community.

“This document allows the NSW State Government to open a dialogue between potentially affected water users and the Commonwealth which is vital to the
consideration of the needs of stakeholders in the Lower Darling and the design of the Menindee Project.”

“The Menindee Lakes Water Savings concept proposal is not a done deal. We are at the beginning of the process.”

“There are key considerations for the NSW government in developing the Menindee Lakes Water Saving Proposal.

“These include how we can best maintain the lakes as an important social, cultural and environmental hub in the far west, how we can maintain a viable agricultural sector in the lower darling and finally how we can deliver our obligations under the Basin Plan,” said Ms Connell.

The concept proposal needs to be subject to detailed assessment and approvals processes. A full business case needs to be prepared which assesses the costs and benefits of different options. The preferred option then needs to be the subject of a comprehensive environmental impact assessment process, including a public EIS.

The Menindee Lakes Water Savings Project is due to be completed in 2024 and will involve community and stakeholder engagement over a number of years.

Lands and Water Commissioner, Jock Laurie has invited the Department of Industry – Water to meet with the community about the Menindee Lakes Water Savings Project at a series of events scheduled next week.

  • Monday 29 October: Wentworth Town Hall, 24 Adelaide St Wentworth from 8am-10am; and Pooncarie Town Hall, Arcoola St, Pooncarie from 1.45pm-3.45pm and 4pm to 6pm.
  • Tuesday 30 October: Menindee Town Hall, Yartla St, Menindee from 8am-10am, 10.15am-12.15pm, 12.30pm – 2.30pm; and Sunset Strip Town Hall, 2 Lakeview Dr Menindee from 3pm-5pm.
  • Wednesday 31 October: REDIE Wilcannia, 35-37 Reid St, Wilcannia from 9am-11am.

To register to attend briefing on the Menindee Lake Water Saving Project email Alice.Jarrett@industry.nsw.gov.au

For more information on the Lower Darling Report see industry.nsw.gov.au/lower-darling-report