A NSW Government website

Drought recovery

Critical Water Advisory Panels

Providing advice on managing water supplies during drought.

About the panel

The management approach during the stages of the Extreme Events Policy, requires that an inter-agency critical water advisory panel for surface water sources be established in Stage 2 - Emerging drought. In stage 3 – Severe drought, the panels are to be operational and meeting regularly for both groundwater and surface water.

Advice from the critical water advisory panels will inform the management approaches taken by the department. Critical water advisory panel members are required to consult potentially affected stakeholders, including local communities and water users, to ensure local knowledge, perspectives and advice, are considered in developing fair management responses that are fit for local circumstances.

Fact sheet

To deliberate further in specific water resource plan areas during extreme events, the Department convened a critical water advisory panel. The panel provides valley-specific advice to the Minister on the most appropriate management actions during an extreme event.

Download the fact sheet (PDF. 279KB)

During the 2017-20 drought, Critical Water Advisory Panels were established for the:

  • Barwon-Darling / Lower Darling Rivers in March 2018
  • Northern Inland Regulated River Valleys in July 2018
  • Southern Inland Regulated River Valleys in June 2019
  • Hunter Valley in February 2020

Communiques from meetings held during the 2017-20 drought can be found below:

Combined Critical Water Advisory Panel

Meetings of the Barwon-Darling/Lower Darling, Northern Inland Panel and the Southern Panel: