Temporary restrictions to support drought measures

Temporary restrictions to support drought measures

28 June 2019

WaterNSW will implement NSW Government temporary pump restrictions intended to support drought measures including the imminent annual water allocation announcement on Monday, 1 July.

A series of section 324 orders were gazetted by the NSW Government today and come into effect on Monday, 1 July:

  • NSW Border Rivers - Trade and carryover restrictions (access restricted to 50%)
  • Upper and Lower Namoi Rivers - Trade and carryover restrictions (Upper Namoi 75%, Lower Namoi 0%)
  • Macquarie River - Trade and carryover restrictions (0%)
  • Lachlan River -Trade and carryover restrictions (57%)
  • Lower Darling - Extending existing arrangements whereby access is limited to critical needs, stock and permanent plantings only, to 30 June 2020, but with irrigation extraction to cease from Copi Hollow.

See full details of the temporary restrictions at: https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/water/allocations-availability/temporary-water-restrictions

The restrictions apply to water users in the state’s hardest hit northern river valleys, where intense drought has reduced dam inflows to record lows, and the Lachlan valley in the state’s Central West.

Key points:

  • The restrictions are required so that critical needs can be delivered within the valley
  • The suspended carryover water will be reserved in drought sub-accounts and made available when future inflows allow
  • Some trade is being suspended to ensure that suspended carryover water cannot be traded, while still allowing trade of any available water.

A series of information sessions by the Department of Industry (Water) and WaterNSW across regional areas in recent months has been advising stakeholders, including irrigators, industry and local government, of the likely water availability from 1 July.

In some valleys delivery of water orders to the lower reaches of the system may not be possible if the severity of the drought persists.

Where possible priority will be given to high security licences held by large employers or important economic drivers, however town supply remains top priority, according to WaterNSW executive manager system operations, Adrian Langdon.

“Water users have an obligation to ensure they are aware of the rule changes in the lead up to Monday’s water availability announcement by the NSW Government,” Mr Langdon said.

“This drought is among the worst on record as far as inflows go in some of our northern dams, and water authorities are taking the tough steps necessary to ensure that critical needs including town supplies continue to be met.”

WaterNSW is already undertaking urgent short-term capital works in the Peel and Macquarie valleys to extend supply if the drought persists including:

  • Raising Warren weir to capture sufficient water to extend supply to Warren, as well as Nyngan and Cobar;
  • Building temporary weirs (block-banks) on the Peel River to divert water via pipeline to Tamworth to reduce transmission losses and extend the city’s supply.

Further information regarding the temporary water restrictions can be found on the department’s website.

For WaterNSW drought management information visit: www.waternsw.com.au/drought

Find information on water licences and trading, or contact the WaterNSW helpdesk on 1300 662 077.

Media Contact – Tony Webber 0428 613 478.

Background

The following reasons apply to the public interest criteria for the section 324 orders:

Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”– due to very low inflow and high delivery loss there is insufficient resource to supply the full account complement of general security water, if essential supplies are to be maintained for 2019/20.
  • “threat to public health and safety” – supplies to critical human water needs will be under greater threat in the 2019/20 water year without intervention.

Upper and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Source:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”– due to record low inflow and high delivery loss there is insufficient resource to supply the full account complement of general security water, if essential supplies are to be maintained for 2019/20.
  • “threat to public health and safety” – supplies to critical human and high priority needs will be under greater threat in the 2019/20 water year without intervention.

Macquarie Regulated River Water Source:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”– due to record low inflow and high delivery losses there is insufficient resource to supply the full account complement of general security water, if essential supplies are to be maintained for 2019/20.
  • “threat to public health and safety” – supplies to critical human and high priority needs will be under greater threat in the 2019/20 water year without intervention.

Lachlan Regulated River Water Source:

  • “to cope with a water shortage”– due to very low inflow and high delivery loss there is insufficient resource to supply the full account complement of general security water, if essential supplies are to be maintained for 2019/20.
  • “threat to public health and safety” – supplies to critical human and high priority needs will be under greater threat in the 2019/20 water year without intervention

Lower Darling:

  • “to cope with a water shortage” - Remaining water supplies in the Lower Darling are at critically low levels and must be protected for high priority needs and permanent plantings for as long as possible. Timing of the next inflow is unknown.
  • “threat to public health and safety” - town water supply and domestic supplies are crucial for public health and safety and are under threat without intervention. These mitigation measures are needed to extend supplies until additional inflows arrive.

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Friday 18 October
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1,255,532 ML
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Friday 18 October