Menindee Lakes Project

The Menindee Lakes Project aims to enhance the significant natural, ecological and cultural heritage values of the Menindee Lakes, Lower Darling and Great Darling Anabranch while delivering on NSW Government’s commitment to the Murray Darling Basin Plan to adjust the sustainable diversion limit. The concept submitted as part of the NSW Business Case to the Commonwealth government in July 2017 included a suite of works and measures aimed at generating up to 106GL/year in water savings.

Picture of MenindeeThe Business Case concept contemplated the following:

  • Existing inlet and outlet regulating structures to be substantially increased in size to move water into and out of the Lakes far quicker than is currently possible;
  • Drainage channels to be constructed to gain access to the large volumes of ‘dead storage’;
  • New regulating structures were also identified in the Lower Darling to ensure water could efficiently be transferred from the Menindee Lakes to the Murray.

The Menindee Lakes Project will need to strike a balance between a desire to maximise water savings, with a need to protect the significant ecological, cultural heritage and socio-economic values that exist in the Menindee Lakes, Lower Darling and Great Darling Anabranch. Striking this balance will not be easy.

The NSW government has established a formal community advisory group which will enable the exploration of options and alternatives for the Project with community and stakeholder group representatives to ensure that local knowledge is incorporated into the project design and outcomes.

Participants at Menindee and Lower Darling Stakeholder Advisory Group MeetingThe broader community will be engaged and consulted through a range of channels before any approach is finalised.

Throughout the life of the project, additional opportunities including information sessions and formal submission processes for the Environmental Impact Statement will be made available to the wider community.

All engagement activities will be conducted in a respectful transparent, and equitable manner. We will give specific dates and details of various engagement activities at appropriate stages of the project’s development.

Menindee Lakes cultural significance

The Menindee Lakes, Lower Darling and Great Darling Anabranch are richly culturally significant areas, with many significant sites located throughout these areas. The lakes and river are the lifeblood of the Barkindji people and are vital to the Barkindji way of life.

The NSW Government will ensure sites with Aboriginal cultural heritage significance are managed appropriately. Consultation with local Aboriginal communities and cultural heritage site surveys will be required as part of the assessments and approvals processes.

In addition, we will work with the Aboriginal community about establishing an Aboriginal Advisory Committee as part of the governance arrangements for the project so that Aboriginal peoples’ input will be considered in the ongoing development of the project.

Further, the NSW Government recognises that water is critical for social, environmental, economic and cultural health and well-being.

Water is protected in legislation. The water laws establish statutory water sharing plans to deliver balanced outcomes for water users and the environment. Social and cultural objectives are included in water sharing plans.

Picture of Menindee Lakes