About SDLAM in the Murrumbidgee River

New South Wales is leading six SDLAM projects that aim to increase the Murrumbidgee River sustainable diversion limit:

Stage 1 pre-construction planning is now taking place for the first four projects. The NSW Government is committed to meaningful and transparent stakeholder engagement in these projects. The Department will comply with the requirements of the NSW Gateway Policy as well as NSW and Commonwealth planning and environmental legislation.

Options will be assessed to identify a preferred option that delivers the service need on a value for money basis. Actions that mitigate all third party and environmental impacts will also be developed.

A decision will be made by the NSW and Commonwealth governments at the end of Stage 1 on whether to proceed to construction.

The adjustment mechanism could provide an offset of 162 gigalitres across the Murrumbidgee Valley, which would mean that additional water purchases may not be necessary.

Community Engagement Plan

We are committed to effective and genuine engagement with the community.

Read the Yanco SDLAM Community Engagement Plan that we have developed in collaboration with the community.

Advisory Groups

To understand and respond to the interests of important stakeholders, three advisory groups have been formed to discuss and analyse issues that are most significant to them. Advisory groups will provide non-binding advice to the department. We’ll collaborate with them and incorporate their advice into our recommendations and decisions to the greatest possible extent.

The three advisory groups are:

  • Yanco Community Advisory Group
  • Yanco Technical Advisory Group
  • Yanco Aboriginal Advisory Group (in development)

The following sections provides more information about the advisory groups:

Yanco Community Advisory Group

Terms of Reference for the Yanco SDLAM Community Advisory Group
Communique of the Community Advisory Group meetings
Member details of the Yanco SDLAM Community Advisory Group
Norm McAllister
0418 592 656 normmca@outlook.com
Tanya Thompson
0408 833 801 yactac.tanya@outlook.com
Bob Crawford
0427 875 955 windouranpastoralco@bigpond.com
Paul Maytom
Leeton Shire Council
0447 293 829 paulm@leeton.nsw.gov.au
Ruth Mcrae
Murrumbidgee Council
0428 861 767 ruthm@murrumbidgee.nsw.gov.au
Patrick Burke
Federation Council
0429 208 267 patrick.bourke@federationcouncil.nsw.gov.au
David Fahey
Narrandera Shire Council
0427 262 270 cr.fahey@narrandera.nsw.gov.au
Norm Brennan
Edward River Council
0409 407 740 norm.brennan@edwardriver.nsw.gov.au
Jim Muirhead
South West Anglers Association Inc.
0429 576 599 jimandviv3@bigpond.com
Richard Sleigh
Creek Country Alliance
0429 861 393 richard.sleigh@bigpond.com
Nalla Smith
Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists
0428 890 537 nella.smith0@gmail.com
Richard Coughlan
NSW Farmers Association
0405 589 565 rfcoughlan@yahoo.com.au

Yanco Technical Advisory Group

Terms of Reference for the Yanco SDLAM Technical Advisory Group
Communique of the Technical Advisory Group meetings
Member details of the Yanco SDLAM Technical Advisory Group
Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - Water Lead NSW agency for the SDLAM program

Lead NSW agency on water management

Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries Lead NSW agency for fish management
Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Environment, Energy and Science Lead NSW agency managing environmental and cultural heritage, including NSW environmental water
WaterNSW NSW state-owned corporation responsible for river operations, water infrastructure management and licensing under the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW)
National Parks and Wildlife Service Lead NSW agency managing National and Regional Parks
Yanco Creek and Tributaries Advisory Council Representative group of over 150 landholders within the Yanco Creek System
Murray–Darling Basin Authority Lead federal agency managing the Murray–Darling Basin Plan
Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder Lead federal agency managing Commonwealth environmental water
Department of Agriculture Lead federal agency managing federal funding for the SDLAM Program

Yanco Aboriginal Advisory Group

In Development

Frequently Asked Questions - Improved flow management works at the Murrumbidgee River - Yanco Creek Offtake

What is proposed at the Yanco Creek Offtake? 

A proposal was put forward in 2015 to improve flow management at Yanco Creek, however, further community consultation will occur before any plans are finalised.

The proposal included construction of a new regulator near the Yanco Creek Offtake, a new regulator near the site of the current fixed crest Yanco Weir in the Murrumbidgee River to raise the existing weir pool by up to 2.5m, and two new fishways.

Will Yanco Creek be cut off from the Murrumbidgee?

There are no plans to cut off Yanco Creek from the Murrumbidgee River or stop water flowing to Colombo, Billabong and Forest creeks. The proposed Yanco Creek regulator will not permanently close water flow.

More information about possible future flow regimes within the Yanco Creek System will soon become available with the public release of a draft Murrumbidgee Long Term Environmental Watering Plan.

What is the benefit of the Yanco Creek Offake proposal?

The proposal is designed to allow environmental flows to be more efficiently delivered below Narrandera, which contains the largest remaining area of wetlands in the Murrumbidgee Valley and supports significant waterbird and native fish populations.

The proposal provides for more efficient delivery by enabling a larger proportion of river flows to pass downstream in the Murrumbidgee River rather than being diverted, uncontrollably, into Yanco Creek.

The proposed new fishway at the Murrumbidgee Regulator will also improve fish passage between Gogeldrie and Berembed weirs–a river distance of almost 100 kilometres.

Frequently Asked Questions - Modernising supply systems for effluent creeks - Murrumbidgee River

What is proposed?

The proposal recommends a number of approaches to improve operational efficiency and generate water savings within the creek system, including through additional monitoring, regulation controls, alternative supplies and operating rules.

What is the benefit of the proposal?

Current arrangements involve high flows down lengthy creek systems and result in significant water losses, poor levels of service and disrupted ecosystem functionality. The proposal identifies a series of controls and alternative supply arrangements that will meet the same level of demand, at a higher level of service, with lower losses.

Frequently Asked Questions - General

Has the Government assessed the risks associated with this proposal?

A preliminary risk assessment identified the potential impacts of the proposal as well as potential mitigation measures.

Before we implement the proposed Project, the department is required by law to undertake comprehensive environmental and socio-economic impact studies, which includes extensive stakeholder engagement processes. The project will not be approved unless the department can demonstrate that potential impacts can be avoided or mitigated.

What is the status of the work?

A business case has been prepared, however, it has not been finalised. All plans are at the concept stage only, and the current pre-construction phase is not expected to be complete until mid-2022. Should the project proceed to construction, it is not expected to be complete until mid-2024.

How does the proposed project Yanco Creek relate to the Murray Darling Basin Plan?

The proposal is one of a suite of “supply” projects submitted under the MDBP Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism. These projects allow environmental outcomes targeted in the Basin Plan to be achieved with less water. This means that more water can remain in the system for other users.

Any potential inter-dependencies between supply measure projects under the SDL Adjustment Mechanism can only be formally determined once a final package of supply measure projects (as constructed) is modelled by the MDBA.

Why isn’t there more information available?

Preliminary business cases and supporting fact sheets were developed in 2015 to provide information for the Australian Government to assess.

The project needed to clear this process before NSW could apply for funding to continue detailed project planning, design, community and stakeholder engagement and approvals.

Funding to progress the pre-construction planning phase was secured in February 2019. It is expected that additional information and resources will be published over the next 6-12 months.

Will other options be considered?

Changes to the business case proposals will be considered. Alternatives identified by stakeholders in addition to those already described in the business cases will be assessed using an options evaluation framework (that is under development) to determine the preferred set of options for construction and/or implementation.

What happens if there is an SDL shortfall?

Arrangements for making good on any shortfall to the NSW component of the 605GL SDL adjustment package are still being negotiated. In the first instance, any reduction to the SDL contribution made by one project is expected to be offset against additional environmental outcomes achieved by other projects in the package. Any remaining shortfall may lead to further licence purchases by the Commonwealth.