WaterNSW will begin delivering a major environmental release into the Barwon-Darling system that could extend from Mungindi as far as the Menindee lakes.
The water deliveries will ultimately total in excess of 23,000 megalitres from Copeton Dam on the Gwydir River and Glenlyon Dam on the Border Rivers in Queensland.
WaterNSW will deliver the release on behalf of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH).
As a large release from regulated tributaries into the Barwon-Darling, the operation is a first and WaterNSW and the CEWH will closely monitor its success via the rivers’ gauging network and with on-ground personnel.
The environmental water will be protected from extraction. The only extractions permitted from the other water currently in the river during the flow event will be extractions for stock and domestic supply, and town water.
If significant rainfall should occur during the watering event, WaterNSW will assess the inflow volumes and advise licensed water holders as to what access they have to those flows.
Event forecast and customer access arrangement will be published on the WaterNSW website.
The pump restrictions implemented on 1 April applying to A, B and C water access licence holders downstream from Boorooma (midway between Walgett and Brewarrina) to Lake Wetherell at the top of the Menindee lakes system remain in place.
Executive Manager, System Operations, Adrian Langdon, said WaterNSW and the CEWH are working with customers to ensure their obligations and entitlements are clear.
“We are working hard with customers and stakeholders to ensure that both the environmental water is protected and that in the unlikely event of rainfall, other users’ rights to pump additional inflows are not affected. This is the win-win we are all trying to achieve.
“WaterNSW has committed additional resources to ensure the objectives of this environmental flow are fully realised. We are also taking the opportunity to have our in-field team work together during the environmental flow event with new Natural Resource Access Regulator (NRAR) staff to kick-off what needs to be a very collaborative relationship between our agencies.”