Temporary restrictions to flows in the Barwon-Darling River now in force

Media release | 8 March 2018

The NSW Department of Industry - Water today announced temporary restrictions on A, B and C class water access licences in the Barwon-Darling Unregulated River to protect valuable low flows entering the river.

The restrictions have been deemed necessary as during the last two months, multiple locations along the Barwon-Darling River, such as Bourke, Louth and Wilcannia, have experienced no flow conditions with water in pools and weirs rapidly depleting.

These measures are required to ensure access to water for towns, domestic and stock uses remains available, as well as licence holders requiring water for permanent plantings.

The restriction on the taking of flows for A, B and C class water licences in the Barwon- Darling will provide protection of small within-channel flows – flows that are required by communities and individual landholders up and down the river for basic human needs.

The temporary water restrictions have been enacted on the back of recent widespread rainfall across Queensland catchments of the Barwon-Darling River system.

While it is too early to tell the exact magnitude of inflows at this stage, estimates suggest flows should at least be re-established to Bourke, and potentially sufficient to refill the Bourke Weir pool.

Unfortunately this event is expected to be too small to assist communities in the Lower Darling and may not reach Wilcannia.

Any lower priority access to these flows would ultimately further reduce the extent of these flows along this parched river system.

The placement of temporary water restrictions in this instance is in the public interest – and the NSW Government has acted quickly and appropriate to protect those interests.

WaterNSW will continue to closely monitor the situation so that these restrictions can be removed once appropriate to do so.