A NSW Government website

Reconnecting River Country Program

Program measures

The NSW Government is developing program measures to mitigate impacts, improve access and connection to Country during proposed higher environmental flows.

Murrumbidgee River

About the program

The Reconnecting River Country Program aims to increase the frequency and extent rivers connect to wetlands and floodplains, to improve the health of Country in the Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys and make the best use of water for the environment.

The program is proposing to remove constraints along environmental flow corridors to enable the flexible use of water for the environment. Removing these constraints is critical to achieving the Murray-Darling Basin’s Plan’s environmental outcomes.

An environmental flow corridor is the area of land to be inundated by environmental flows up to the selected flow option limit. This area of land includes the riverbank, wetlands and low-level floodplain areas which the program aims to inundate more frequently with environmental water to mimic the natural cycle of the river.

Flow options are still under consideration to ensure the selected option provides the best outcome for the environment and community.

The environmental flow corridors would provide landholders with certainty on the maximum inundation extent from potential releases for environmental flow purposes. Mapping of the flow corridor, for each of the flow options being assessed, can be viewed using the program’s inundation mapping.

If the program proceeds to delivery, the environment, and private and public land, would see benefits from increased environmental flows. However, some properties and public areas may require assistance to manage the impacts of low-level overbank inundation.

As such, the program is consulting on the development of program measures to assist landholders, First Nations people and local government agencies to manage the impacts of proposed higher environmental flow releases. These measures may include works and actions to improve First Nations people’s connection and access to Country. We will continue to discuss program measures with stakeholders seeking feedback to inform the development of these measures.

Proposed program measures

We are investigating a range of measures to establish the proposed environmental flow corridors.

Flow easements within the environmental flow corridor 

If the program proceeds to delivery, we may establish flow easement agreements with landholders within the flow corridors.

Establishing flow easements on private property would assist river operators to periodically deliver higher flows for environmental purposes. Inundation impacts would be the primary concern of any agreement being considered by the program, with landholders able to continue existing farm management within the flow corridor unless the land is inundated.

Compensation may also be considered by the program. If the program proceeds, any compensation measure would be agreed, fairly and equitably with landholders, to allow the NSW Government to inundate the environmental flow corridor on their land with environmental water releases .

Private landholders in a flow corridor would be given fair and reasonable opportunity to negotiate enduring agreements and would be entitled to compensation in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.

To see if your property is within a proposed flow corridor visit the program’s inundation mapping.

Works on private property

The program is in development. If it proceeds to delivery, works consistent with the program and relevant floodplain management objectives may be considered for private property in some circumstances. Critical and necessary infrastructure may be required to deliver the program.

The program is considering additional measures, including funding works to:

  • give access to a property where this represents value for money compared to easement compensation (or where there are safety issues resulting from the increased frequency of water)
  • address a constraint to the delivery of the program.

 Works on public land

If the program proceeds to delivery, works may be considered for affected public infrastructure within flow corridors, to assist local government and other land management agencies to provide essential services. This would include where there are impacts to public health and safety, or where it could be demonstrated there is a significant public benefit.

Program measures may also be considered, on a case-by-case basis, to achieve First Nations outcomes on public land within the flow corridors.

There may also be additional works required in individual Local Government Areas to assist the delivery of flows, such as the widening of bridges or culverts.

Measures to realise benefits for First Nations 

We are consulting with First Nations communities across the program area to understand how connection and access to Country could be improved through the program, and the health of Nations could be supported.

We are working to better understand First Nations people’s vision for Country, identify potential measures and support mechanisms enabling First nations benefits along the flow corridor. We have heard from our First Nation’s reference group some beneficial measures could include improved access to Country through agreements and co-management, physical access works (e.g., improved roads, tracks, culverts, etc) as well as measures to support Nation building.

We will continue to consult and to build our understanding of how the program can help realise benefits for First Nations people over the coming months.

Negotiation assistance  

If a decision is made to fund and proceed with the program, assistance may be considered for landholders engaged in negotiations, in-line with the NSW Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991

Examples of this assistance include:

  • legal costs reasonably incurred
  • valuation fees of a registered valuer, reasonably incurred
  • other reasonably incurred financial costs related to the actual use of the property resulting from the easement.

An additional fixed amount may be considered in recognition of the time required to undertake the negotiation. No fixed amount has been determined but would be a consistent across the program

Early works and measures

The Reconnecting River Country Program is currently scoping a package of early works and measures to deliver wetlands and floodplain benefits by December 2026. There are four early works packages being scoped:

  • Werai forest works and measures
  • Niemur-Colligen works and measures
  • Mundarlo Bridge
  • Mundowy Lane works and measures.
Early works location map
Early works and measures projects map

Some examples of the early works infrastructure being considered include:

  • watercourse crossing upgrades
  • new installations such as bridges, culverts, causeways and rock crossings
  • access track upgrades
  • installation of regulators.

The program is developing a funding proposal, detailing recommended works for each of the packages, for the Australian Government as part of the program’s current May 2024 funding agreement.

Werai Creek with a rusty piece of bridge infrastructure

A package of early works and measures are currently being scoped for the Werai forest.

Trees at Niemur Colligen

A package of early works and measures are currently being scoped for Niemur-Colligen.

Mundarlo bridge

A package of early infrastructure works and measures are currently being scoped for Mundarlo Bridge.

Aerial view of Mundowy lane

A package of early works and measures are currently being scoped for Mundowy Lane.

Next steps

We are currently working with landholders, local government, First Nations communities and other stakeholders to discuss the key components of the program measures currently being considered. This process will refine the proposed measures in 2024. Feedback received through stakeholder engagement is providing valuable input to program measure design.

More information

For more information on the program and other resources visit the Information Hub, or subscribe to receive program updates.

Landholder Registration Form

To register as a landholder and participate in the program, fill in this online form.

Register now

Contact us

For more information call us on 1300 081 047 or email us at: admin.rrcp@dpie.nsw.gov.au