Suspension to Water Sharing Plan for the Belubula Regulated River Water Source 2012
|Water sharing plan suspension notice||Suspension to Water Sharing Plan for the Belubula Regulated River Water Source 2012|
|Water licences affected||No licences affected - suspension applies to end of system flow rules|
|Date suspension started||20 July 2020|
|Date suspension ends||31 December 2020|
Reason for decision
Clause 26 of the Water Sharing Plan specifies an end of system flow target of 10 ML/day. The Belubula river receives a high proportion of its flow from tributary inflows downstream of the dam. On average, only ten per cent of total annual flow in the river comes from dam releases, the remaining 90 per cent is derived from inflows from the tributaries. In the lower reaches of the river, groundwater extraction also reduces the river flow as the systems are highly connected.
If the proposed amendments to the Belubula Water Sharing Plan commence later in 2020, new rules will negate the need for future plan suspensions dealing with the end of system flow rule.
Reasons for decisions
Water Sharing Plan suspension – section 49B
Belubula - suspension of planned environmental water provisions
The reinstatement of the suspension of clause 26 will reduce system losses and allow available water in Carcoar Dam to be used for other high priority water needs.
If the proposed amendments to the Belubula plan are made before 31 December 2020, the suspension order may be repealed with the concurrence of the Minister for Energy and Environment.
Benefits and risks
This suspension continues the operational arrangements for Carcoar Dam during dry periods.
The suspension of Clause 26 will ensure water is available for other high priority water users on the Belubula.
There will be concern that suspending this rule will impact aquatic ecosystems in the Belubula. Historically Cod, Macquarie Perch, Golden Perch and Blackfish have been found in the Belubula River. In the lower reaches of the river, downstream of Canowindra, there are also some wetlands which are generally in poor health.
To mitigate the impact of reduced end of system flows, a first flush rule has been adopted. This rule ensures that environmental needs of the system are satisfied before flows are made available to lower security water users from any future tributary inflow events.
Executive Director - Policy, Planning and Sciences
20 July 2020