Macquarie Valley

Macquarie Valley

Valley storage level


Updated: 03 August 2020

The Macquarie Valley is one of the worst affected regions in this severe time of drought with storage currently at critically low levels.

  • There have been extreme low inflows (the amount of water entering the Macquarie Valley. Inflows since January 2018 are the lowest recorded inflows in history.
  • Stock and Domestic replenishment flows rely on rain and tributary flows and not from Burrendong Dam. This is causing significant social, economic and environmental impacts.
  • The drought is a natural disaster – it has not been caused by extraction or irrigation.
  • Until 317GL of inflows are received, new allocations to general security users won’t be possible.

Drought response projects

WaterNSW is undertaking a range of drought relief projects, and drought relief project planning, to secure water supplies to affected communities currently under Stage 3 critical drought conditions. These projects prioritise water supply to meet critical human needs in the Macquarie Valley.

Current stage

Nyngan and Cobar Drought Water Security project

WaterNSW with delivery partners EMM Consulting and GHD, will explore viable groundwater sources and pipeline options to extend water supply for critical human needs for Nyngan and Cobar. Investigations will be undertaken in Bogan Shire and Warren Shire to determine groundwater source suitability and yield capacity including options to pipe water to Nyngan, with supply to Cobar through the existing pipeline infrastructure.

Macquarie Valley Drought Relief Strategy

WaterNSW with delivery partner GHD, are working with local councils and DPIE to investigate immediate drought response options and long term asset solutions. These solutions will improve efficient delivery of water for critical human needs downstream and upstream of the Burrendong Dam during low dam water levels. Surface and groundwater options are being investigated along with optimising wastewater reuse, stormwater harvesting and other bulk water saving options.

Draft strategy will be completed in August 2020 and submitted to NSW Government.

Burrendong Deep Water Access 

Recent inflows to Burrendong Dam has meant pumping to access the deep storage at the dam will not be required until mid 2021 at the earliest. To date, we have completed the upgrade of the power supply to the dam and constructed the temporary floating pumping stations which will be placed in the reservoir when the dam reaches critical supply levels.

We will continue to monitor the water supply inflows to Burrendong Dam and re-activate the deep storage access project in line with the revised dam depletion forecast to complete the final earthworks.

Bulk Water Transfer from Windamere Dam to Burrendong Dam postponed

With recent minor inflows, the bulk water transfer from Windamere Dam to Burrendong Dam has been postponed in-line with updated modelling.

All works will be in accordance with relevant planning and environmental laws and approvals.

We will continue to work with communities and keep regular updates as we progress, see our contact details below.

Community presentations and updates

Contacts and feedback


Facebook users can also join the WaterNSW Macquarie Valley drought response community group.

While water storage in the Macquarie valley remains at critically low levels, we will update you as news comes in via our media releases and water operations updates. This will be in addition to our monthly Regional NSW drought report.


Tuesday 11 August
2,450,585 ML
2,581,850 ML
9,225 ML
1,318 ML
253,153 ML
Tuesday 11 August