The NSW Government is investigating a range of measures for the Darling-Baaka River system as part of rescoping the Menindee Lakes project. These measures are part of a new Better Baaka program.
Following the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting in April 2021, Water Infrastructure NSW has rescoped the Menindee Lakes Sustainable Diversion Limits Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) project and investigated options that might be supported by the community.
The program focus has been evaluating the years of community feedback regarding the need to improve connectivity, environmental, cultural and community outcomes.
We know these issues can only be addressed by taking a holistic, system-wide approach to water infrastructure planning and operations, working in tandem with changes in water policy and strategy. We also know that feedback from our stakeholders and communities is critical to ensuring we progress the best options for delivering outcomes.
Consultation and engagement will be undertaken to work side-by-side with communities to investigate solutions to create a Better Baaka. This is a shift towards beneficial outcomes for communities and the environment.
The options are currently being investigated by the project team, most of which are in the very early stages of planning. Community feedback and input will play a crucial role in shaping which initiatives are progressed, and what these initiatives look like, to deliver a Better Baaka.
Initiatives being proposed
We are proposing a range of initiatives to deliver outcomes acceptable to our communities. Infrastructure improvements and operating rules are being considered to make the Darling-Baaka system more flexible, so its rivers and floodplains can be maintained, and sustainable local communities, agriculture and industries can be supported.
A broader range of policy and rule options to improve connectivity across the Darling Baaka are being investigated through the Western Regional Water Strategy.
Together these programs will seek to address a range of water issues important to local communities, such as water security, temporary water restrictions and the reconfiguration of upstream weirs.
We will also be engaging communities on how to improve fish passage across 2,000 km of the system, through initiatives including the Northern Basin Toolkit 'Fish for the Future strategy' where fishways will be constructed at mainstem weirs and associated water infrastructure.
A key focus of the program will also be on delivering important social and economic outcomes for local First Nations communities along the system, by enhancing tourism and education as well as through employment opportunities.
Download the Better Baaka overview fact sheet (PDF, 1583.92 KB)
The key components/projects being looked at through the Better Baaka program include: