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Western Regional Water Strategy

Connectivity Expert Panel

An independent expert panel is providing advice to the Minister for Water on work being carried out to improve connectivity and flows into the Barwon-Darling River.

Sunset over Menindee lakes.

Providing independent expert advice

In September 2023, the Hon. Rose Jackson, Minister for Water convened the Connectivity Expert Panel (the panel) to review the analyses the department has undertaken and to provide an independent assessment of its adequacy.

The panel is providing independent advice to the Minister for Water for her consideration and as such is not Government policy.

The scope of the panel’s review can be found in the:


In April 2024 the panel released an report outlining its interim findings and recommendations. The panel is expected to provide its final report to the Minister in June 2024.

Download the interim report (PDF. 2,200KB)

The panel will present their interim findings and recommendations at two public webinars.

Should you wish to contact the panel about the draft report, please email connectivity.feedback@dpie.nsw.gov.au


Connectivity Expert Panel interim findings and recommendations

Watch the webinar from 3 May 2024.

Connectivity Expert Panel interim findings and recommendations

Watch the webinar from 1 May 2024.

Panel members

The panel members are:

Ms Amy Dula

Director of Programs, Natural Resources Commission

Professor Phil Duncan

First Nations representative, Galambany Professional Fellow, Acting CEO, EPIC CRC

Professor Fran Sheldon

Head of School, School of Environment and Science, Griffith University

Dr Mark Southwell

Principal River Scientist, 2rog Consulting

Dr Phil Townsend

Senior Economic Analyst

Mr Cameron Smith

Principal Water Engineer, Cleah Consulting

The panel will provide its final report and recommendations to the Minister in June 2024. The department will review the panel’s findings and recommendations and consider next steps.

The department will follow the usual processes to make any water sharing plan amendments in response to the panel’s recommendations. This will include public consultation on the proposed amendments.

The department is taking action to improve water flowing across the connected catchments of the northern NSW Murray Basin at important times part of the Northern Basin Connectivity Program. This work is building on the significant analyses and consultation that occurred as part of developing the Western Regional Water Strategy.