New South Wales water programmes in the Murray-Darling Basin

​​​Current programmes and projects

Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program in New South Wales

This programme aims to improve the efficiency and productivity of water use and management of private irrigation networks to deliver water savings for the environment. Water entitlements resulting from water savings generated from eligible projects, both off and on-farm, will help to secure a sustainable future for irrigation communities.

See Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program in New South Wales for details.

New South Wales State Priority projects

Under the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on Murray-Darling Basin Reform and COAG communiqué of 3 July 2008, the Australian Government agreed to provide, subject to due diligence, up to $1.358 billion in funding to the NSW government. This includes a range of NSW state-led Priority projects (SPPs) to be delivered by NSW, such as the Southern-connected Metering project ($31.5 million), Basin Pipes project ($136.20 million), Irrigated Farm Modernisation project ($83 million) and the Healthy Floodplains project ($49.01 million). Smaller pilot projects to inform the Metering and Irrigated Farm Modernisation projects were also funded, and those pilots are now complete.​

Menindee Lakes project

The Australian Government is providing funding to NSW to develop a project to improve the efficiency of the Minindee Lakes as a water storage. The project may involve changes to infrastructure and operational arrangements to reduce the volume of water that evaporates from the Lakes each year.

See Menindee Lakes project for details.

NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project

This project aims to upgrade on-farm water infrastructure and strengthen the capacity of irrigators to adopt more efficient water management practices, reduce water losses and improve productivity. Australian Government funding of up to $111 million is available to NSW to deliver this project.

See Irrigated Farm Modernisation for details.

NSW Nimmie-Caira Enhanced Environmental Water Delivery project

The Australian Government is providing up to $180.1 million to this project. In 2014, it resulted in the purchase of 84,417 ha of land by the NSW Government and 381,000 ML of supplementary (Lowbidgee) water entitlements being transferred to the Commonwealth for environmental use. These water entitlements make a large contribution towards ‘bridging the gap’ to the sustainable diversion limit in the Murrumbidgee Valley under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. This has significantly reduced the need to purchase water entitlements from other areas in the Murrumbidgee Valley that have substantial permanent plantings and irrigation infrastructure.

The Nimmie-Caira project is the largest wetland and floodplain restoration project in the Murray-Darling Basin. The objective is to restore floodplain health and ecosystem function in the area by implementing management arrangements that enhance environmental and indigenous cultural outcomes within and beyond the Nimmie-Caira area. The NSW Department of Primary Industries is responsible for implementing future land management arrangements on the property, including extensive infrastructure works, to assist in achieving these objectives.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) conducted a performance audit of the project in 2014-15 and found it was one of the most cost effective water recovery projects administered by the department.

See Nimmie-Caira project—NSW Department of Primary Industries for details.

NSW Basin Pipe Stock and Domestic project

Australian Government funding of up to $137 million was announced in 2012 to implement the Basin Pipe project. In 2019 the project was reduced in scope with Australian Government funding of up to $45.6 million to implement the project. This state priority project upgrades selected stock and domestic schemes in the NSW Murray-Darling Basin to improve the efficiency of water delivery, restore flow patterns in natural watercourses and contribute to a sustainable future for dependent communities.

See Basin Pipe project for details.

NSW Metering Scheme project

The Australian Government is providing funding of up to $31.5 million for the NSW Southern-connected Metering project. The purpose is to meet the requirements of the National Framework for Non-Urban Water Metering by installing accurate water meters at unregulated, regulated and groundwater extraction points in the southern-connected catchments of the NSW Murray-Darling Basin and ensuring coverage of at least 95% of the total volume of licensed extractions. The meters will be connected to a telemetry system to provide real time information on water extraction throughout the Basin. A share of water savings resulting from this project will be returned to the environment.

See Southern Valleys Metering Project—Water NSW for details.

Toorale Infrastructure Decommissioning project

The Australian Government provided $19.6 million to the NSW Government towards the purchase of Toorale Station, on the junction of the Warrego and Darling rivers in north-west NSW in September 2008. In return for the Australian Government funding, NSW transferred 25.5 GL of water entitlements to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder for environmental watering purposes.

Toorale has been gazetted as a national park and state conservation area since 2010.

See also:

Completed programmes and projects

Hume Dam Remedial Works

Funding of up to $10 million was contributed to remedial works on the Hume Dam southern training wall. The funding was appropriated to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) over 3 years.

Lithgow-Clarence Colliery Water Transfer project

The Australian Government provided funding of $4 million to upgrade the Clarence Water Transfer System, allowing the increased use of excess water from Clarence Colliery. The project aimed to improve the security of Lithgow's water supply by supplementing potable water supplies and offsetting water that would ordinarily be drawn from Oberon Dam.

Liverpool Plains ​​Regional Water Supply Strategy

Liverpool Plains Shire Council was the lead recipient for a consortium of councils covering the regions of Liverpool Plains and Gunnedah. The project undertook a review of the issues affecting water security and management in the Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains communities now and in the future. The review included studies into water availability and options to better manage water resources. It also examined the socio-economic importance of water use and undertake a review of existing water supply and management infrastructure, as well as future water needs.

Orange Emergency Pipeline project

Funding of $20 million was committed to the NSW Government in March 2011 towards Orange City Council's water security project involving construction of a 39 km pipeline from the Macquarie River to the Suma Park Dam at Orange. The pipeline provides Orange with a secure water supply for the future by connecting the city's existing water infrastructure to the Macquarie River. The NSW Government co-contributed $18.2 million towards the project and the Orange City Council $8.8 million. The project has been completed and the pipeline opened on 2 July 2015.

See Macquarie River to Orange Pipeline project—Orange Water Security​ for details.

Water Management Partnership Agreement for New South Wales

In 2010 a Water Management Partnership Agreement was completed between the Commonwealth and New South Wales.

Last reviewed: 12 October 2020
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