Western Weirs Program
Western Weirs Program
WaterNSW is developing a Preliminary Business Case for the holistic management and operation of the weirs in the Barwon-Darling unregulated and Lower Darling regulated systems to support remote community water supplies and other benefits.
The NSW Government has committed approximately $4.2 million from Restart NSW Water Security for Regions on 29 November 2019, for the development and submission of a Strategic Business Case (SBC) and associated documentation. The Water Security for Regions Program aims to help regional communities improve water security.
The Western Weirs Program covers the Barwon-Darling River which comprises both the Barwon-Darling Unregulated River Water Source and the Lower-Darling Regulated River Source, from Mungindi to Wentworth.
There are over 29 weirs along the Barwon- Darling River and the adjoining tributaries. WaterNSW owns a number of weirs in the system, however ownership of the other weirs is unclear.
The current infrastructure is also known to have a number of deficiencies from poor condition of weirs, no system level functionality, flow regulation limitations, town water supply and security concerns and unclear responsibility of structures.
WaterNSW is investigating a holistic approach to the management of weirs in the far west.The Western Weirs Program examines the benefits of taking a holistic approach to improving the management of the Barwon Darling and Lower Darling systems by assessing the feasibility of modifying and changing the operation of river infrastructure to support remote community water supplies and provide related socio-economic, environmental and other benefits
The investigation outcomes are expected to recommend WaterNSW assume the ownership of weirs, upgrade weirs to become gated structures (regulators), provide fish passages, and continue to operate and maintain the new regulators.
Once implemented, the Program is expected to provide for enhanced water delivery efficiency, resulting in improvements to river connectivity, subsequently leading to improved long-term water availability and access for far west regional communities.
If fully implemented, the Program is expected to deliver:
- Construction of a new integrated system of gated weirs to replace current fixed weirs along the river allowing WaterNSW to more effectively manage flow along the whole system
- Provision of fish passage on all new and existing fish barriers along the river
- Removal of weirs and structures that provide no benefit to the system
- Implementation of new ownership, maintenance, operations and cost recovery arrangements for infrastructure and operations along the river
- Amendments of the Water Resource Plan considering the new operational regime on the river.
Key benefits expected to be achieved from a holistic management and operation approach include:
- Improved water resource management and enhanced water security for all water users
- Improvement of river health and reduction of no-flow events
- Better management of environmental flows (including first flush and low-flow scenarios)
- Collective outcomes are likely to provide positive flow-on benefits and revitalise the regional communities and economies in the remote far west of NSW
- Improved asset condition and capability
- Additional control barrier to enable local water utilities to manage water quality for town supplies.
For more information about the project please contact us.