A NSW Government website

Environmental water management

What we are working on now

See our current projects aimed at improving the way we manage water for the environment.

Murray River at Toolebuc

The NSW Government is currently working on the following programs to improve the way we manage water for the environment.

River connectivity

Connectivity between river reaches and their surrounding environment is critical for maintaining healthy ecosystems.

McCaughey's Lagoon

Active management

Active management rules protect environmental water from extraction in the unregulated Barwon-Darling, Gwydir and Macquarie-Bogan water

Aerial view of Darling River with algal bloom

Claydon review

An independent review into the department’s implementation of the resumption of flows rule, active management and individual daily

Pacific Black Duck - Image credit: A Leung DPE

Pre-requisite policy measures

Prerequisite policy measures aim to maximise the benefits of water for the environment.

Hume Dam

The North-west flow plan

The plan will improve the connectivity of rivers in the northern Murray-Darling Basin.

Murray River at Toolebuc

Protecting environmental water flowing from Queensland

In 2020, the NSW Government implemented active management in several water sources to protect active environmental water (AEW) from extraction. Intersecting Streams were considered a priority for the protection of environmental water. However, at the time there was no method for accounting for environmental water flowing across the Queensland border. NSW and Queensland have since agreed on a process for identifying and notifying the presence of held environmental water crossing the Queensland-NSW border.

The department is now investigating options for recognising this held environmental water in the Intersecting Streams water sources to achieve instream environmental outcomes. This water will then be protected if it reaches the Barwon-Darling River under active management.

Modelling of inundations in Menindee town with increased releases from Menindee Lakes

Rain events in southern Queensland and northern NSW in late 2021 increased the volume of water flowing through the Barwon-Darling River. WaterNSW managed the volume of water held in the Menindee Lakes system by pre-releasing water at Weir 32 to accommodate these inflows.

Increasing these releases above 18,000 megalitres per day (ML/day) posed an unknown risk to properties and roads within Menindee. Manly Hydraulics Laboratory modelled and assessed the impacts of inundations of releases between 18,000 ML/day and 25,000 ML/day.

Full details are available in the Menindee Flow Release Impact Assessment PDF, 26372.47 KB