WaterNSW outlines info flow on new Barwon-Darling water rule

WaterNSW outlines info flow on new Barwon-Darling water rule

29 January 2021

In the lead up to the activation of a new rule in the Barwon-Darling water sharing plan, WaterNSW met with local councils, farmers and irrigators from the northern and southern basin, as well as government environmental authorities at least nine times to ensure the implementation of the new rule was understood.

In addition to the extensive consultation through meetings, WaterNSW used commercial radio and the ABC to raise awareness, issued several media releases, and informed water users through its customer communication network.

These channels are being utilised today to advise irrigators that with the environmental target of flow from the Queensland border to Menindee set to be realised, irrigation access has been restored for irrigators upstream of Bourke subject to the terms of their licence.

This information has also been readily available on the WaterNSW WaterInsights platform, believed to be the most comprehensive real-time water tracking system in the country.

“Our WaterInsights portal allows anyone to monitor river flows and levels in real-time. Anyone sitting at home has the opportunity to monitor the operations of NSW river systems,” WaterNSW executive manager of systems operations, Adrian Langdon said.

“WaterNSW also held numerous information sessions in January with attendees from Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett councils, farmers and irrigators from Bourke down to Menindee and the Lower Darling as well as state and federal government environmental agencies.

“In addition to those meetings, we issued two media releases, ran a series of radio advertisements in the Northern Basin, and discussed the operation of the new rule on ABC Western Plains, ABC Broken Hill and Bourke radio 2WEB.”

“We put great emphasis on ensuring that we communicated that this new government rule was going to be triggered on January 12th, following 90 consecutive days of low flows through Wilcannia.

“This new rule has seen water that would have otherwise been available for pumping make its way down the river, with our forecasts now suggesting up to 5 gigalitres could flow into the Menindee lakes, providing connectivity from the Queensland border.”

WaterNSW will also publish to its website correct details to those misrepresented in The Australian article today (“Irrigators tap into river’s reserves”), Mr Langdon said.

“The objective was to deliver a flow from the border to the Menindee lakes by suspending irrigation access to what otherwise would have been predominantly irrigation water. To assert that irrigators accessed this protected water during that time is simply incorrect.”

Media contacts: Webber – 0428 613 478  -- Benjamin Ansell – 0436 942 946

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