Gingham wetands copyright NSW Office of Water

Water recovery projects can provide additional water for productive and environmental purposes. The volumes of water saved are in addition to water provided for water users and the environment through the rules in the water sharing plans.

Water recovery can be achieved through investing in infrastructure to achieve greater efficiency and through the purchase of water licences.

Infrastructure projects

The development or improvement of water management infrastructure can create efficiencies and reduce the loss of water through the delivery system. Infrastructure projects to achieve water savings have been undertaken in many inland river valleys, the Great Artesian Basin, the Hawkesbury-Nepean, and for the Snowy River system, with funding from NSW and the Commonwealth.

Water recovered through infrastructure investment in NSW benefits both the environment and productive uses.

Water purchasing

Water recovery for the environment can also be achieved through the purchase of existing water licences. NSW was the first state to purchase water licences for the environment through the NSW RiverBank environmental fund, now managed by the Office of Environment and Heritage. Other major purchases have occurred under The Living Murray and Snowy Initiative.

To find out more about how water buy back and shepherding are used to recover water see Water purchasing information.

Major water recovery programs

The Office of Water is involved in a number of water recovery programs and initiatives across New South Wales:

Water recovery program How it works . . .
NSW Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Works and Measures Feasibility Project The Office of Water is working with Murray-Darling Basin communities to identify projects to improve water delivery, water saving efficiency, and environmental outcomes.
Cap & Pipe the Bores This infrastructure program gives landholders in the Great Artesian Basin financial incentives to cap and pipe their bores to increase artesian pressure, and to improve water efficiency and water quality.
The Living Murray A major investment by the NSW, Victorian, South Australian, ACT and Commonwealth Governments to improve the environmental health of the Murray River.
Snowy Initiative Set up to return significant water to the Snowy and Murray rivers for the environment.
Darling River Water Savings Project Established to investigate options to improve the water supply and management of the entire Darling River system, in particular for the Menindee Lakes.
Sustaining the Murray-Darling Basin State Priority Projects focussed on improving water efficiency and improved environmental outcomes in the Murray-Darling Basin.
The Hawkesbury-Nepean River Recovery Program A program, comprising seven individual projects, which has improved river health in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment by making more water available for environmental benefit and reducing nutrient inputs to the river system.
Wetland Recovery Program Implemented through water purchases, water efficiency projects and improvements to wetland management in the Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir wetlands.
RiverBank and Rivers Environmental Restoration Program Over 100,000 megalitres of water have been purchased in the Macquarie, Gwydir, Lachlan and Murrumbidgee valleys to provide water for the environment.