The Commonwealth to acquire New South Wales Lower Darling catchment

In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the Commonwealth is contracted to purchase 21.9 gigalitres (GL) – 17.8 GL in long-term average annual yield – of water from the New South Wales Lower Darling catchment from Tandou Limited.

This strategic water acquisition, a vital one in its own right, will be one of the biggest contributions to a list of remaining objectives in delivering the 2,750 GL water recovery target under the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The transaction will include the acquisition of water entitlements and decommissioning of irrigation operations, and will help facilitate a more efficient operation of the Menindee Lakes Storage Scheme and reduce evaporative losses, particularly in lake Cawndilla.

The Government of NSW disclosed the proposal to improve the management of the Menindee Lakes system in March 2017 “in order to reduce evaporation, optimise the significant natural, cultural and economic [values] of the Lakes, and the continued use of the Lakes for recreational and tourism purposes.”

The department will continue to implement contract arrangements to purchase water through infrastructure and strategic acquisitions, as relevant Basin states have agreed, to fully offset the remaining water recovery ‘gaps’ in the southern Basin.