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News |

WaterNSW advised releases from Copeton Dam have decreased to 5,000ML/day.  Copeton Dam remains steady at 99% capacity, with all accounts at their maximum allocation. 

The water releases take 4-5 days before reaching Pallamallawa.

The Gwydir River at Yarraman remains at a minor flood level, with additional inflows below Gravesend combining with spill releases from Copeton Dam.  Keep an eye on the BOM weather warnings for any flood warning updates. 

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From 1 December 2021, along with the last stage of new metering requirements for the Valley the NSW Government also kicks of new reporting needs.

These are for water users that use their work for multiple purposes and they require you to report the split in your licensed water and Basic Landholder Rights use, to ensure water is not deducted off your license.  Without reporting, all the water use measured will be considered licensed.  The rules also include self meter reads for those water users who do not have telemetry.  The rules are explained here https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/water/metering-archive/new-reporting-rules .

The rules are rather Draconian for water users that do not use water for irrigation but have a licensed attached to the work and therefore have the potential to irrigate, as you need to add up the water used each month and report it as BLR.  We would encourage you to write with your first report, complaining about these requirements as you are not an active irrigator but want to use the work for Basic Landholder Rights.  We did provide a submission at the time which was clearly ignored. 

The attached approved form, which also has to be used is provided in the below link.

News |

WaterNSW advised that releases from Copeton Dam were increased to 16,000 megalitres per day and again, to 20,000 megalitres per day to account for recent rainfall upstream at Bundarra and with the current forecast.  

These flows are now meeting with existing inflows and the the flows are larger and more sustained than the stream capacity of any system, downstream (West) of Moree township being: the Lower Gwydir and Gingham, Mehi, Moomin and the Carole and Gil Gil systems. Flooding in low lying areas or known chokes in these systems is likely as a result of these flows and that is before any further inflows.  Flooding is already occurring along the Lower Gwydir, Gingham and Carole systems from earlier this week and local inflows.  

For a comparison of past floods, their heights and flow rates please visit our webpage History of Flooding, whcih was updated to reflect the flood already this week. 

News |

For the first time since July 2012, Copeton Dam has reached 99% and WaterNSW have had to release water to make airspace for inflows, which are the tail of the current event at Bundarra on the Gwydir River.  This is only the fifth time since construction the dam has reached this level. 

Releases at this stage are 5,000 megalitres/day for the next few days, depending on the weather. WaterNSW will aim to maintain Copeton at 100%, no more or no less.  These flows are well within the operational capacity of WaterNSW downstream near Moree. 

All accounts associated with Copeton Dam are now full, with some unallocated water. 

Releases are considered unregulated events and shared accordingly.

News |

The Bureau of Meteorology have issued a moderate flood warning again for the Gwydir Valley, with Major flooding expected at Yarraman of 7m by Tuesday. 

Follow the BOM Flood Warning updates here.

Follow and check in with river heights along the river via the BOM river network here.  WaterNSW systems (WaterInsights - the preferred platform, WaterLive app and Realtime data) are overloaded and at times have delayed data or cannot be displayed.

Fast Facts |

The Gwydir Valley is a distributary river system, which spreads our rivers and creeks across the Gwydir Floodplain which acts as a large inland delta. Our rivers spill out naturally to these floodplains when they are full and spilling.  Not every flood is the same, they range in magnitude of height and duration and can occur from locally generated rain or from rainfall further upstream of the catchment. 
Recent flood warnings in December 2020 were predicted because of upstream rainfall and inflows.  This was a short, sharp and small flow which has created limited flooding.  For example, the height at Pallamallawa was half of that experienced in 2011 and 2012 when the entire north-west was in flood. This flow also didn't contain a lot of water but its peak flow rate at Pallamallawa of 33,000 ML/day was still higher than the operating capacity of the regulator and cannot be managed.  Rather this water flows naturally, unmanaged by WaterNSW to the watercourse the lowest point of our inland delta and towards the Gwydir Wetlands.

Metering |

DPIEW have updated the Metering Guidance Tool with a number of new questions to better guide you through the metering requirements.  We recommend everyone step through this process to help them work out whether they need to call a Duly Qualified Person or not about needing a meter.

Have your work approval and licence conditions on hand - you will need them to complete many of the questions.  Remember to watch our videos via Vimeo https://vimeo.com/showcase/8853111  which step through how to find these numbers and the information your need. 

News |

Copeton Dam is currently at 95% capacity with inflows still occurring from recent rainfall above the Dam - the dam storage levels can be checked via WaterInsights. Copeton only needs to get to 96% capacity before all licences have full allocations, meaning that at 100% capacity there is unallocated water that sits until there is account space for it to be allocated.

However, for context, Copeton Dam has only reached 99% capacity for an extended period on four occasions since it was finished full construction in 1976. Being 1978, in 1984, 1998 and most recently in 2012.   

Please note, WaterNSW are not making airspace releases from Copeton Dam at this stage but this is occuring for Keepit Dam in the Namoi Valley.

News |

With minor flooding in the Gwydir Valley, WaterNSW has issued an update to the 9 November supplementary announcement, today the 12 November 2021, increasing access to 100% of allocation for those interested with updated pumping volumes provided.

Anyone who did not participate in the EOI earlier this week and would now like to participate must call WaterNSW to discuss, do not just put in a water order you must email riveropsnorth@waternsw.com.au.

Reminder to place water orders via iWas or using the form and emailing water.orders@waternsw.com.au. 

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The BOM have revised the Flood Warning for the Gwydir Valley down to minor via their updates here.  

Whilst the flood level has reduced.  The flow rate in the Gwydir River is currently above the safe operating level of the infrastructure at Tareelaroi Weir - this means that the gates are fully lifted, allowing the river to flow in its natural direction which temporarily limits the ability for WaterNSW to direct flows down the Mehi River. That is why there has been a drop in the Mehi River below the regulator late yesterday as the gates were required to be opened, the levels will rise with further water flows and/or when WaterNSW can close some of the gates on the regulator. 

River heights can be viewed via WaterInisghts and selecting the Gwydir Regulated River, below find your location.

Contact WaterNSW if you have any further questions.

News |

The Bureau of Meteorology have issues a flood warning for moderate to major flooding of the Gwydir and Mehi Rivers, for the weekend.

The rainfall activity is storm based and very difficult to predict but its important to keep watch of updates vis the SES or the BOM websites.  

For an assessment of past floods and their heights including the most recent events in December 2020 and March 2021, visit our webpage History of Flooding. We will update this page with any new flood predictions if they occur.

Stay safe.

News |

In the interests of keep our staff and community safe at the busy and important time, our office in Moree remains temporarily closed given the current COVID outbreak.  

Members can call the office to arrange a teleconference or video conference meeting for any inquiries.

Please stay safe.

News |

The NSW Government has announced an additional 4.8% increase in general security and environmental contingency accounts following inflows into Copeton Dam.  Copeton Dam is sitting at 86% capacity, and on average general security accounts have 135% in accounts made up of 78.4% allocation provided this year plus carryover from previous years.  General security accounts have a maximum account limit of 150% this account limit is reached prior to Copeton Dam being at full capacity due to unallocated water.  

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WaterNSW indicated during our recent Customer Meeting and River Operations meeting that any customer interested in supplementary water was to contact the  RiverOpsNorth@waternsw.com.au with ongoing unregulated flows downstream and limited interest, they will not be making announcements until further notice. 

Supplementary access usage and the updated rolling roster is available via our website.  To see a break down of supplementary events and sharing arrangements visit  https://waterinsights.waternsw.com.au/11985-gwydir-regulated-river/allocation 

News |

Copeton Dam is a 86% percent capacity and General Security allocations including for the ECA and environmental water holders for this year  equal 73%, including carryover there is on average 126% in accounts.  This is a stark contrast to conditions 18-months ago for our region and others.  For all NSW northern valleys storages are on average at 83% of capacity, the central valleys have 91% and the southern valleys on 94%. There actually isn't a lot of room for more inflows.

News |

The NSW Government has released excess licenses in some water sharing plan areas of NSW under a controlled allocation.  These areas include the fractured rock and GAB groundwater water source areas within our region if interested. 

This process sets a minumum price per megalitre and a total volume of unit shares available for each listed water source and/or zone. 

The majority of licenses are being released in coastal areas following the water sharing plan processes in those regions. 

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 https://www.waternsw.com.au/customer-service/water-licensing/metering#stay

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 https://vimeo.com/showcase/8853111

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.

News |

Food and fibre production in the northern Murray Darling Basin is worth more than $6 billion a year, according to a report by leading Australian economic analysis company Macroplan. The report, commissioned by the Northern Valley Irrigators groups of which the Gwydir Valley contributed, sets out the value and flow-on benefits of investment in irrigated agriculture in the northern Basin.

“The report shows the economic and social value of irrigated and other agriculture in in the northern Basin,” explained Michael Drum, Executive Officer of Macquarie River Food and Fibre.

“Regional communities dominated by agriculture are circular economies, each sector relies on the other to be successful. Much of the irrigated product both primary and secondary uses, goes to feeding a highly valuable livestock industry as well the food we eat and the clothes we wear”.

Making Every Drop Count

Securing a future for the Gwydir Valley through Irrigated Agriculture.