This submission form highlights specific issues the NSW Office of Water is seeking comment on and refers to the report Proposed arrangements for Shepherding Environmental Water in NSW - draft for consultation.

How to fill out this form

You can view or download this report and submission form at Shepherding environmental water. The report has been prepared to assist in understanding the draft proposed water shepherding arrangements and highlights specific issues for comment. Your feedback on all aspects of the proposed arrangements is welcome.

Submissions close Monday 2 July 2012

Privacy and confidentiality

Your submission will be used by the NSW Office of Water, the NSW Water Shepherding Working Group and NSW Water Shepherding Taskforce to review the draft proposed water shepherding arrangements. Your input is valued and it is appreciated that the information you provide may be of a private and personal nature.

If you wish your submission or personal details to remain confidential for any reason, you can request this. Please show your preference by ticking the relevant box on the submission form below. The Office of Water may be required by law to release copies of submissions received to third parties. A request for access to a confidential submission will be determined according to the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

If you do not make a request for confidentiality, the Office may make your submission, including any personal details, available to the public, if requested.

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Overall framework of the shepherding proposal
Barwon-Darling Water Shepherding

The end-of-system accounting water shepherding methodology for the Barwon-Darling water source is based on dealing rules that allow for the assignment of allocation from Barwon-Darling Commonwealth owned access licences to a water shepherding access licence that nominates an end-of-system water management work. Access to this allocation is then subject to specific access and use rules and conditions.

Queensland and NSW Tributary Water Shepherding

Water shepherding of Queensland and NSW tributary water is based on dealing rules that allow for the assignment of allocation to a tributary water shepherding access licence that nominates a water management work at the end of the tributary system. A second allocation assignment dealing is then completed to transfer the shepherded allocation from the tributary to the Barwon-Darling system. These water shepherding allocation assignments will be subject to specific access and use rules and conditions.

Menindee Lakes / Lower Darling Regulated River Water Source Water Shepherding

Water shepherding into the Menindee Lakes requires the shepherded volume entering the Menindee Lakes to be recognised and accounted. Any changes to how inflows are recognised in Menindee Lakes Storage (MLS) will require the agreement of the Basin states to amend the Murray Darling Basin Agreement. The preferred option is to recognise CEW in the unused airspace of MLS, with an account established under a new Schedule to the Agreement and administered by the Authority.

Shepherding in times of resource constraint

In times of critical human water needs and lower supply levels in the Menindee Lakes it is proposed to limit and / or suspend shepherding into and from the Menindee Lakes. Suspension will be influenced by the tier of management as outlined in the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement. Options for triggering when suspension may occur have been identified. One option is that suspension occurs when the volume in MLS reaches 480 GL and is falling. Another option is that the volume of shepherded CEW be treated separately for the purposes of calculating the 480 GL. Under this option, suspension would occur at some point before water was required for critical human water needs, and rules would be required to limit shepherding at particular times. To identify the precise trigger for limiting and / or suspending shepherding due to resource constraints requires further modelling and analysis on options identified here and during the consultation process.

Shepherding downstream of Menindee Lakes

The proposed approach to shepherding water downstream of the Menindee Lakes is through allocation assignments to shepherding WALs and delivery of ordered water from the shepherding account in Menindee Lakes. Changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement would be required to shepherd water to downstream jurisdictional water sources.

Audit, report and review

The implementation of the end-of-system water shepherding methodology will involve novel and complex concepts and processes that may need to evolve over time. It is therefore proposed to implement an auditing, reporting and review process. A key purpose of the audit and review purpose will be to ensure that third party impacts are not occurring as a result of water shepherding. An adaptive management approach will be necessary to ensure any issues can be resolved in a timely manner.

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