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Water NSW have expanded their Early Warning Network to manage notifications for temporary restrictions to pumping conditions (in addition to dam safety and flood notifications).  It is recommended all water users subscribe to this process to be sent an email and SMS on any announcements from Water NSW regarding access arrangements. 

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Please be aware DPIE have issues a Section 324 water restriction under the NSW Water Management Act in anticipation of potential natural inflows into the regions water systems this is for unregulated, general security and supplementary licences.  Details are to be provided on the DPIE website.  This order does not include current water orders in the system and high security deliveries.  Exemptions to test metering equipment are expected to exist and procedures must be followed as per the gazette.

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With the anticipation of rain forecast by the BOM, its important that water users are aware of the conditions around water access in the event we receive river system inflows.  There are currently deliveries within the system that would need to be satisfied, as with the provision of stock and domestic and basic landholder right flows to systems that have not received any substantial flows to-date.  To ensure you are up to date, please check the Department of Industry website for any temporary restrictions.
We note that previous restrictions have made allowances to test metering equipment for a limited volume of no more than 1ML provided the duly qualified person, undertaking the testing informs NRAR.  This information will be available on the Government Gazette if a restriction is put in place.  

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Current water availability has been updated for regulated and groundwater usage and allocations this year, which groundwater usage remaining below limits and no new allocations being made. The only deliveries from Copeton Dam have been for critical water needs for high security users (both irrigators and the environment) and general security carried over for environmental purposes, which is being dam wall debited.  Copeton Dam received minor inflows and remains steady to increasing, despite releases being made.  These releases are visible in the Mehi and Lower Gwydir systems.  The GVIA have also updated our historical availability section of the website, to include an analysis of supplementary access as well.

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WaterNSW recently provided an update on river operations outlook and water availability for the Gwydir Valley as part of the River Operations Stakeholder Consultative Committee and the Customer Advisory Group meetings that coincided with the regional drought updates.  A snap shot of these updates are provided in the link below, or you can visit the WaterNSW website for regional drought updates and operations updates. 

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The NSW and Commonwealth Governments are undertaking environmental water delivery across the Gwydir, Mehi and Carole systems to replenish large river pools which act as fish refuge throughout the summer of 2019-20.  Initial environmental water releases are being used to restart the rivers after an extended period of no flow. After river startup, flows will be in combination with WaterNSW releases for stock and domestic flows down the systems. Visit this page to see the updates. 

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The NSW Government has updated their Drought Information page with new information on how they are managing water and critical water shortages right around the state.  It reads "The areas experiencing the worst effects of this drought are the northern Murray-Darling Basin and the Lower Darling. Inflows to each of the major northern inland NSW regulated rivers are now the lowest on record. Northern NSW has experienced many two-year periods of sustained low inflows. We’re now entering an unprecedented third year." For more facts behind the drought and river management options, visit their page and look through the critical valleys and their management or the other information sources.

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The NSW and Commonwealth Governments have significant natural assets in our region - NSW is responsible for land and water and the Commonwealth are the largest single water entitlement owner in the valley.  While a farmer is financially accountable for their decisions and socially accountable as custodians to manage their land - not to mention the rules and regulations they must abide by. Who are our government's accountable to when they make decisions on how they manage their assets? It's the community!
Zara Lowien said "Its important that the community are aware of what is done with the water that is delivered to these areas and how those decisions are made"...

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Today, the NSW Government announced that the it will adjust the first three start dates for the new metering rules, meaning the first roll-out date for larger than 500mm pipe diameters is now 1 December 2020.  This announcement, while welcomed and well-overdue, unfortunately fails to acknowledge that the NSW Government has failed to outline to water users what data logger or telemetry devices are approved for installation as part of the new regulations.  This decision is still pending. 

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Today, the GVIA launched two videos calling on the NSW Government to finalise their decision regarding changes to the NSW Non-urban Water Metering Regulations that were consulted on back in August 2019.  Executive Officer, Zara Lowien said "it's now less than two-months before the first deadline for water users to ensure their metering equipment meets the new rules and no one knows what data logger or telemetry units are approved for installation.  Without this decision,  no water user in NSW can be compliant.  Farmers all around NSW are under enough pressure already, enough is enough".   

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