Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association

The Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association (GVIA) represents in excess of 400 water entitlement holders in the Gwydir Valley.

Our water entitlement holders are some of the most progressive in the world, actively engaged in, and innovating irrigated agriculture. From broadacre crops such as cotton to tree crops such as pecans, oranges and olives, our industry is diverse and productive. We are all acutely aware that reliability of water in the valley is low, and thus strive to Make Every Drop Count for the producer, the community and the environment.

Our vision is for the local irrigation industry, the environment and the Gwydir Valley community to have a secure, vibrant future, with the GVIA recognised as an industry leader.

The Gwydir Valley, centred around the town of Moree in north west NSW is an extremely productive agricultural region. Agriculture employs 20-30% of the population and contributes an estimate 7.8% of NSW’s total agricultural production. Irrigated agriculture is particularly important, contributing significantly to the social and economic wellbeing of the region.


Read more about The Gwydir Valley »

Latest DAM Capacity


Water Allocations

The Gwydir River System



The irrigated olive industry was initiated in the Gwydir Valley over 25 years ago. Olives are a vertically integrated industry with the nationally recognised Gwydir Grove Olives the largest local producer and processor. In recent years the number of olive trees has declined as some producers have switched from olives into pecans.

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Oranges are a new irrigation industry in the Gwydir Valley, with the majority of the trees planted since 2005. It is currently expanding with an expected area of 350Ha to be under production by 2020. The citrus industry in the Gwydir Valley is part of the locally owned and vertically integrated Grove Juice business.

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The pecan industry is an important irrigation industry for the Gwydir Valley. Trawalla, owned and operated by Stahmann Farms is the largest in the region producing approximately 90% of Australia’s pecans. Australia is the fourth largest global producer of pecans. Stahmann Farms operate the country's only commercial pecan shelling, value-adding and packing plant.

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Broadacre Cropping

The Gwydir Valley is a diverse broadacre cropping region producing a range of both summer and winter crops. The primary winter crops include; chickpeas, wheat, barley, and more recently canola. While summer plantings include sorghum, faba beans, mung beans, maize and sunflowers. The majority of the broadacre cropping area is dryland.

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Cotton is the most significant irrigated crop in the Gwydir Valley with an average of 70,000Ha. It is also an important dryland crop with an average of 79,000Ha annually. The area planted can fluctuate from year to year, being dependant on either available irrigation water and seasonal rainfall.

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Lucerne and Hay are niche crops in the Gwydir Valley covering an estimated 4,500Ha. Lucerne is produced primarily on smaller blocks and is irrigated by bore water entitlements. Hay production includes Lucerne, cereals and pastures.

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The turf industry has been a part of the irrigation industry of the Gwydir Valley for almost 20 years, but there are only two producers in the valley. It covers a very small area of only 20Ha and is irrigated by bore water entitlements. The primary species produced is Buffalo.

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The Gwydir Wetlands

The Gwydir Wetlands are a system of terminal delta wetlands, located downstream of the Gwydir River approximately 45kms west of Moree in north west NSW. They are recognised for their unique vegetation and bird breeding potential. The wetlands are estimated to consist of approximately 6,829Ha of semi-permanent wetland and 77,949Ha of floodplain wetland.

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Gwydir River - Gravesend Monitoring Gauge

WaterNSW monitor 51 river gauge locations in the Gwydir River and streams(418) using telemetry with data accessible in real time. These sites collect a range of information from flow rate, discharge volume and river heights and assist WaterNSW in their role of water delivery operators whilst providing an indication of water availability.

Water NSW Real Time Data


Water Management

All water in the Gwydir is managed by water sharing plans established progressively since 2004. Currently 19% of long term Gwydir river flows and 85% of sustainable yield of the Lower Gwydir aquifer are available for irrigation. This has been reduced over time following reforms and water recovery for environment.



Groundwater Monitoring Network

The are a number of groundwater sources including the Lower Gwydir aquifer used for irrigation and the Great Artesian Basin, including recharge zones. WaterNSW monitor levels via 26 monitoring sites with data accessible in real time.

Groundwater provides reliable irrigation water, quality drinking water for towns and properties and is one of the region’s major tourism attractions.

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Copeton Dam

Copeton Dam is located on the Gwydir River upstream of Bingara on the north-west slopes of NSW. It is one of the largest inland dams in NSW with a capacity of 1,364,000 megalitres of water. It was initiated in 1966 to provide town water supplies and to boost irrigated agricultural production in the Gwydir Valley.


Latest News and Events

Fast Facts |

Understanding the changes to the NSW Metering Rules for non-urban water users can be a challenge and often the information is spread across a number of Department and industry sources.  We have found, the most central point to visit is WaterNSW Metering page

It has the three steps you should take and all the links to the forms, the rules and the Departments Metering Guidance tool which we encourage you to use. But importantly, its WaterNSW who manage the implementation and integration of the new rules on the ground, they collect information from your Duly Qualified Persons and they administer the licensing database if you determine you need to make amendments.  In most cases it is WaterNSW you will need to speak with about metering as they are the customer liaison group, plus they have a customer hotline 1300 662 077. 

It is this website that features heavily in our video series on metering.

News |

The NSW Water Minister today announced the NSW Government will exempt up to 500 small water users who take water under a domestic and stock water access licence from non-urban metering rules, fixing an inconsistency in the NSW Government’s metering policy .  The announcement details are accessed below. 

Zara Lowien from the GVIA said while welcomed for some water users, the decision to not extend this exemption to groundwater sources such as the Lower Gwydir and the NSW Great Artesian Basin, will mean the majority of the region's stock and domestic groundwater works are still required to be metered in the Gwydir Valley.  This means many lifestyle blocks on the outskirts of towns like Moree and dryland farms still need a water meter by 1 December 2021.  This is over-reach by the metering reforms which should focus on water being actively used for irrigation and as such, the exemptions should be extended to these other water sources.

We are also calling on the NSW Government to prioritise solutions for land owners who hold a water access licenses but are not active irrigators before the deadline of 1 December 2021.  Again a large number of lifestyle blocks have small licenses that are inactive for irrigation but that may be used for stock and domestic or basic landholder rights, who without intervention are required to have a meter by December 2021.  

To assess if you need a meter, see our video series via

News |

The NSW Select Committee Inquiry into floodplain harvesting has had an explosive start to public hearings this week with hearings due to wrap up on Friday, 24th September with the NSW Water Minister.

Zara Lowien, from the Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association said the next few days will be interesting as mainly stakeholders who are vocal against the licencing proposal and irrigation in the northern valleys, present their cases.

 “Since the drought we’ve seen floodplain harvesting which is water taken during a flood when rivers and streams are full and spilling onto the floodplains, being criticised as the cause of all the problems with water management and the environment during the drought”.

 “Everyone agrees current conditions are good – our rivers are flowing freely, with many storages including the Menindee Lakes full, which is in stark contrast to the recent drought, when our rivers stopped flowing.”

“With many these mistruths blown out of the water and some stakeholders refusing to accept the real facts.  Those destined to undermine this process have fallen back on highly nuanced and often contradictory arguments on what is the long-term legal limit and disputes on modelling results”.

“The analysis being used to support the claim that NSW is trying to update Cap without due process during this inquiry is not correct, nor is the claim that Cap is being increased.”

“The analysis used to make the claims, isn’t even comparing apples with apples” said Mrs Lowien.

Making Every Drop Count

Securing a future for the Gwydir Valley through Irrigated Agriculture.