Water eNews January 2019
JANUARY 2019 | ISSUE #2
A monthly email update on water planning, management and reform in New South Wales.
You are receiving this email because you have an interest in NSW water matters or you have previously elected to receive water news from the department. If you no longer wish to receive these updates, you can unsubscribe at any time.
While rain has fallen in some areas, the drought in NSW has worsened over the last month. In particular, high temperatures in the north and west have contributed to deteriorating conditions.
Currently, five water sources in the NSW Murray–Darling Basin are in drought:
- Lower Darling – stage 4
- Macquarie – stage 3
- Upper and Lower Namoi – stage 3
- Gwydir – stage 2
- Barwon-Darling – stage 3
Update on fish death events
In recent weeks, challenging conditions across the state have seen a number of very serious events of fish deaths.
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) – Fisheries, along with WaterNSW is responsible for the operational response and immediate actions. DPI Fisheries has completed an investigation into the major event around Menindee, and this report, along with regular updates, is available online.
NSW and Commonwealth government agencies are working together on immediate and longer term responses to the fish deaths and their impacts on local communities. Further information is available on the MDBA website.
Snapshot: Environmental water in the northern basin
In December, the NSW government released a snapshot outlining how we are working to manage environmental water better in the northern Murray-Darling Basin.
Managing water for the environment is complicated, with many considerations. Both the NSW and Commonwealth governments have invested public funds to recover water for the environment, and it’s important that we use it effectively. The new document outlines the commitments we’ve made toward better use of environmental water, and our progress so far.
Our aim is to improve environmental outcomes while balancing the needs of other water users. The snapshot gives an indication of where we’re up to in our ongoing work to improve water outcomes.
First Snowy report released
In December, we released the final report on the first 10 year review of the Snowy Water Licence. The licence sets out the terms for Snowy Hydro Limited to use water for hydro-electricity generation while providing water for the environment.
The review received 40 stakeholder submissions, with feedback on measures to manage the Snowy system more effectively. Based on these submissions, the final report recommends 23 ways to improve water management in the Snowy.
Among other changes, Snowy Hydro Limited will be required to produce a public-facing annual water operating plan. The department will also look at better ways to deliver environmental flows. Visit our website to see the final report and a timetable for the changes.
On the ground: the Great Artesian Basin
Our staff are working in the Great Artesian Basin to assess how groundwater has responded to the capping of free-flowing bores over the last few years. The information they gather will help us to manage water in the Great Artesian Basin.
One of our teams is looking at spring water quality, and the plants and animals that rely on the groundwater-fed springs. Revisiting sites has helped to reveal natural variation in the system, and the team has made exciting finds, including freshwater crabs and fish. They’ve also enjoyed learning about the cultural heritage of the springs from Indigenous elders and landholders.
A second team is reviewing groundwater bores across the NSW portion of the basin. This team is checking water levels and pressures, and sampling for water quality. So far they’ve assessed more than 200 bores, with around 500 to go.
Training for water and sewerage services
Safe and reliable water and sewerage services are critical to the health and wellbeing of regional communities. Without them, many regional communities would cease to exist.
Providing these services is complicated, and requires the help of a highly specialised workforce. Workers must manage the competing demands of regulatory requirements, community expectations, and new technologies on a daily basis. Ongoing training is central to building and retaining the workforce, and to ensuring the continued and successful delivery of services.
The department has run a training program for many years. Our trainers are experts in all areas of water supply, sewerage, recycling and trade wastes. The courses they run give nationally recognised qualifications, and are tailored to meet the needs of regional NSW’s local water utilities.
Unlawful works incur heavy penalties
A Corowa land owner and his contractor each received large fines in Albury Local Court late last year, as a result of action taken by the Natural Resources Access Regulator. The fines were for unlawful works on waterfront land on the Murray River.
Reporting suspicious water activity
If you see something that seems suspicious, you can now report it confidentially through our website.
A form is available on our website, and reports will be reviewed by NRAR within ten days.
Latest water news from the department
- Snapshot of environmental water in the NSW northern basin
- Community notice: Wilcannia Weir upgrade consultation commences
- Drought relief: NSW Government confirms funding guidelines for $1 billion Safe and Secure Water Program
- NSW says Basin Plan finally a deal for all
- NSW Water Regulator increases reach to help communities comply
On public exhibition
- Macquarie-Castlereagh Surface Water Resource Plan — Closes 1 Feb 2019
- Lachlan Surface Water Resource Plan — Closes 1 Feb 2019
- Border Rivers Surface Water Resource Plan — Closes 1 Feb 2019
- Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring & Auditing Strategy — Closes 15 Feb 2019
- Wilcannia Weir upgrade — Closes 15 Feb 2019
- Greater Hunter Regional Water Strategy — Closes 28 Feb 2019
NSW Department of Industry | phone +61 2 9338 6600 | firstname.lastname@example.org