Current Water Availability

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Current Water Availability

New South Wales Department of Industry - Water, together with WaterNSW (for supplementary flows) are responsible for announcements regarding water availability within plan areas.

Annual starting allocations are determined on the 1 July each year and, depending on the entitlement type, additional available water determinations may be made depending on water resources available for sharing throughout the water year, as with General Security (generally in first week of the month) or at the beginning of an event for supplementary water.

Current allocations and their date of announcement are provided below and are presented as a chart this includes water available and usage to date.

For a complete record of water allocation statements, visit the Department of Industry website here.

2019-20 Water Year

At the start of the current water year (1 July 2019) there was 2,000 megalitres carried over in General Security accounts for irrigation and an estimated 35,000 megalitres for environmental water managers (NSW and CEWO held, and Environmental Contingency Allowance).  Full allocations were announced for critical water users including high security users and groundwater, were made available.  Groundwater users have limited carryover allocations with an estimated 12,000 megalitres remaining.

However, at the time of announcement Copeton Dam supplies do not include reserves for shared delivery loss and there are limited reserves for the delivery of essential supplies.  All water users will need to work collaboratively to ensure losses are minimised to make the most of their remaining allocations.  GVIA and WaterNSW will engage with water users and monitor any natural inflows to maximise opportunities to efficiently run the river.  Current delivery outcomes are available via WaterNSW Operations Update 1 July 2019.

The below chart provides a graphic of the available water in accounts for each of the water entitlements and categories and outlines, with text the water use so far this season.  This information is provided via resource assessment updates for the regulated system and monitoring of groundwater usage.  This information is available in the following tables.




Regulated System - High Security and General Security

Current water availability in Copeton Dam is highlighted on our sidebar (on the right) but is also broken down by entitlement type below.   High security as well as town water supplies and stock and domestic users, as well as the losses to deliver this water are included in the 'essential supplies' section.


A breakdown of General security allocations for the current water year are detailed below.

A detailed breakdown of general security monthly allocations, usage and remaining general security balances are provided in the following attachment.

Regulated system - Supplementary access.

There have not been any suitable flows above the minimum requirements to meet basic and critical water needs, for sharing to supplementary licences and hence there has not been any announcements for supplementary access.  Given the extended period of no natural flows for most of the valleys streams and the requirement for stock and domestic and basic landholder rights, along our rivers and creeks, water users should consider the likelihood of a restriction on any supplementary access and wait for communication from Water NSW regarding expressions of interest prior to considering pumping. Any restrictions in place are available via Department of Industry website

There has been no supplementary access since October 2017.

The current supplementary roster which is used to guide where supplementary events may be directed to, given the opportunity arises and the river operators have the ability to direct the flow.


Unregulated system

As with supplementary access, given the extended period of no natural flows for most of the valleys streams and the requirement for stock and domestic and basic landholder rights, along our rivers and creeks, water users should consider the likelihood of a restriction on any supplementary access and wait for communication from Water NSW regarding expressions of interest prior to considering pumping. Any restrictions in place are available via Department of Industry website

2018-19 Water Year

At the start of the current water year (1 July 2018) there was 43,000ML carried over in General Security accounts for irrigation and 150,000ML for environmental water managers (NSW and CEWO held, and Environmental Contingency Allowance).  Full allocations to critical water users including high security users and groundwater users,  were made available.  

A summary of water usage by category is provided as calculated on 30 June 2019.


Allocation
Usage
Carryover
Entitlement Type Irrigation (ML) Enviro (ML) % Irrigation (ML) Enviro (ML) Irrigation (ML) Enviro (ML)
High Security 14,442 5,757 100% 10,388 0* N/A N/A
General Security 0 0 0% 41,000 55,000 2,000 19,740**
ECA 0 0 0% 0 52,600 0 22,730**
Supplementary 0 0 0% 0 0 N/A N/A
Groundwater 28,888 5,700 100% 33,151 5,700 14,000 N/A
* Environmental Water Holders transfer HS into GS for usage
** Environmental Water Usage reconciled only until 31 May 2019.


Some entitlements (general security and groundwater) provide carryover mechanisms for unused allocations, these can be used in the following water year in addition to any new allocations.

Key summary:

  • Valley inflows were near the lowest on record at only approximately 39,000 megalitres, although were slightly greater than the region's 'drought of record'.
  • Irrigators will carryover 2,000 megalitres of general security allocations.
  • Environmental water holders will carryover an estimate 35,000 megalitres (estimated until the August Resource Assessment) of general security allocations.
  • Higher than average high security usage occurred throughout the water year.
  • Groundwater usage totalled 33,151 megalitres.  Monitoring using the three-year rolling average as described in the Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Gwydir Groundwater Water Sources (2006) revealed that usage is below the Plan Limit.


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