Water sharing plan suspensions

Summary of water sharing suspensions

The tables below give a summary of water sharing plan suspensions.

More information on the area impacted by the suspension and what it means for licensed water users covered by the suspension can be found by selecting the relevant water sharing plan in the table below.

Peel Valley Regulated, Unregulated, Alluvium and Fractured Rock Water Sources 2010

Water sharing plan suspension notice Part suspension Peel Valley Regulated, Unregulated, Alluvium and Fractured Rock Water Sources 2010
Water licences affected Environmental release requirements
Date suspension started 2 December 2019
Date suspension ends 29 February 2020
Status Current 

Macquarie and Cudgegong Regulated Rivers Water Sources 2016

Water sharing plan suspension notice Suspension to Water Sharing Plan for the Macquarie and Cudgegong Regulated Rivers Water Sources 2016
Water licences affected All licences affected
Date suspension started 4 July 2019
Date suspension ends 30 June 2020
Status Current 

Belubula Regulated Rivers Water Sources 2016

Water sharing plan suspension notice Suspension to Water Sharing Plan for the Belubula Regulated Rivers Water Sources 2016
Water licences affected No licences affected - suspension applies to end of system flow rules
Date suspension started 4 July 2019
Date suspension ends 30 June 2020
Status Current

Suspension to Water Sharing Plan for the Greater Metropolitan Region Unregulated River Water Sources 2011

Water sharing plan suspension notice Suspension to Water Sharing Plan for the Greater Metropolitan Region Unregulated River Water Sources 2011
Background The Greater Sydney region is currently experiencing drought. There is a threat to the short to medium term availability of water for the region due to the ongoing drought. The region is currently at level 1 water restrictions and will move to level 2 water restrictions in December 2019.
Water licenses affected No licences affected - suspension applies to end of system flow rules
Date suspension started 27 August 2019
Date suspension ends 30 June 2020
Status Current

Background

The Greater Sydney region is currently experiencing drought. There is a threat to the short to medium term availability of water for the region due to the ongoing drought. The region is currently at level 1 water restrictions and will move to level 2 water restrictions in December 2019.

Sydney’s desalination plant has reached full production and is currently providing approximately 15 per cent of Sydney’s total daily water needs. Even with this additional supply, it is indicated that Sydney’s total water supply would drop below 30 per cent by late 2021. At this level, water quality and the ability to pump water out of dams may be compromised.

Due to the ongoing drought and record low inflows, Sydney’s storages are currently at less than 47 percent total capacity, with the drought not expected to break in the next 12 months. The Shoalhaven region currently has level 1 water restrictions and it is estimated that there is five years supply in the remaining storage.

The Metropolitan Water Plan 2017 provides for transfers from Tallowa Dam on the Shoalhaven River for Sydney’s water supply. During the Millennium Drought, Sydney’s water supplies fell to 33.8 per cent in February 2007. Transfers from Shoalhaven supplied around 30 per cent of Sydney’s water during that drought. Without the Shoalhaven transfers, Sydney’s supply would have fallen to 13 per cent.

Clause 30 of the Water Sharing Plan for the Greater Metropolitan Region Unregulated River Water Sources allows limited transfers from the Shoalhaven River system. Clause 30 must be suspended to allow additional transfer from the Shoalhaven River Water Source for Sydney’s water supply.  To manage water supply for Greater Sydney, the Minister has suspended clause 30 allowing the additional transfer.

Reasons for decision

Water Sharing Plan suspension – section 49B

Section 49B of the Water Management Act 2000 enables all or part of water sharing plans to be suspended if the Minister is satisfied that there is a severe water shortage.

Before suspending the operation of all or part of a plan, the Minister must obtain the concurrence of the Minister for Energy and Environment.

Benefits and risks

The suspension of clause 30 allows more water to be transferred from the Shoalhaven River Water Source to the Upper Nepean and Upstream Warragamba Water Source to increase Sydney’s water supply.

Shoalhaven’s water supply is estimated to have 5 years remaining in storage. Environmental flows released into the Shoalhaven River from Tallowa Dam have been unaffected and will continue to ensure water is available for the health of the river.

The suspension came into force on 27 August 2019 and will continue up to 30 June 2020.