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Sydney

                                                                                                   

Administration

                             

This page explains how legislation, plans and provisions are applied for surface, ground and environmental water. It also lists the organisations responsible for water management in this region.

 

Water Management, Legislation, Plans and Provisions

Surface Water

Surface Water Legislation

All areas within the Sydney region, with the exception of the Kangaroo River Unregulated Water Source, are operating in accordance with the Water Act 1912 (New South Wales). The Kangaroo River Unregulated Water Source is operating in accordance with the Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales).

These legislative arrangements will continue until the commencement of the Greater Metropolitan Unregulated Water Sharing Plan, which will move the management of the entire area to the Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales).
There are three further legislative acts directly relevant to water management activities in the Sydney region:

  1. Sydney Water Catchment Management Act 1998 that established the roles and responsibilities of the Sydney Catchment Authority
  2. Sydney Water Act 1994 that established the roles and responsibilities of Sydney Water
  3. Energy and Utilities Administration Act 1987 that established water savings action plan initiatives.

Water Management Plans

The Kangaroo River Unregulated Water Source is operating under a water sharing plan. The Water Sharing Plan for the Kangaroo River Water Source defines flow rules for water users and environmental flow provisions in accordance with the Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales).

There are currently no approved water management plans for the remainder of the region. The Greater Metropolitan Unregulated Water Sharing Plan was finalised and commences on 1 July 2011 for a period of ten years.

Water licences issued in the past under the Water Act 1912 (New South Wales) were given an area-based entitlement enabling a licence holder to use water on the licensed area. Between 2000 and 2004, a process of volumetric conversion took place, which converted these licences to a volumetric entitlement for unregulated rivers. These conversions also established limits on the annual volume extractable. A volumetric allocation scheme will be launched to converted entitlements with the introduction of the Greater Metropolitan Unregulated Water Sharing Plan in accordance with the Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales).

Groundwater

Groundwater Legislation

Groundwater in the Sydney region is managed in accordance with Water Act 1912 (New South Wales). This management regime will continue until the commencement of the Greater Metropolitan Groundwater Sharing Plan, which will move the groundwater management to the Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales).

Groundwater Management Plans

Figure A1 shows groundwater management units in the Sydney region. Information on the management units and sources for groundwater in the Sydney region is available in the Background document for the Draft Water Sharing Plan – Greater Metropolitan Region groundwater sources.

 Figure A1. Map of groundwater management areas in the Sydney region

Figure A1. Groundwater management units in the Sydney region (data source: NSW Office of Water)

In the absence of the Greater Metropolitan Groundwater Sharing Plan, the NSW Office of Water is currently taking steps necessary to manage groundwater resources including:

  • establishing groundwater management units
  • monitoring groundwater level and quality through a network of groundwater observation bores
  • taking necessary actions to regulate groundwater extraction based on monitoring information
  • finalising the Greater Metropolitan Groundwater Sharing Plan and taking actions to commence it on 1 July 2011 for a period of ten years.

 

Environmental Water

Environmental Water Legislation

The Water Act 1912 (New South Wales) guides the environmental flow provisions throughout the region except for environmental flow provisions in the Kangaroo River. These provisions are specified in the Water Sharing Plan for the Kangaroo River Water Source in accordance with the Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales).

The regulating authority overseeing environmental flow management in the Sydney region is the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
 

Environmental Water Provisions

For the areas operating under the Water Act 1912 (New South Wales), environmental flow management is based on the provisions made in the water management licences. The specifics of these provisions are diverse and dependent upon where a licence is located. In general they define visible flow access rules or gauge height access rules. These flow rules were specified in the water management licences issued to water utilities that release water for environmental purposes.
More details about the status of current environmental water management arrangements covering the Sydney region can be found in the National Water Commission report, The Australian environmental water management report 2010.

Rivers managed by Sydney Catchment Authority

Section 3 of the water management licence for Sydney Catchment Authority (issued under Part 9 of the Water Act 1912 (New South Wales)) specifies environmental flows in the:
  • Hawkesbury-Nepean Rivers excluding the Upper Coxs River
  • Shoalhaven River
  • Woronora River.
Specified flows include volumetric and high flow releases from the reservoirs, contingency flows, and release of banked environmental flows. More details on the Sydney Catchment Authority’s environmental flow management are available on its website.

Coxs River

Section 4 of the water management licence for Delta Electricity (issued under Part 9 of the Water Act 1912 (New South Wales)) specifies environmental flows for the Upper Coxs River. Specified flows include volumetric flow releases from the reservoirs and annual channel maintenance flows.

Kangaroo River

The Water Sharing Plan for the Kangaroo River Water Source states that water must be allocated for the fundamental health of the river and river-dependent ecosystems, such as wetlands and floodplains, as a first priority. This is achieved by establishing flow classes at a specified flow reference point. The flow reference point is the Kangaroo River at Hampden Bridge (Station 215220). Figure A2 shows the Kangaroo River Water Sharing Plan (WSP) area. A proportion of each flow class is set aside for environmental needs. Growth in extractions was restricted by establishing long-term extraction limits. NSW Office of Water manages the day-to-day operation of the entitlements allocated from the Kangaroo River water source.

Figure A2. Map of the Kangaroo River Water Sharing Plan area

Figure A2. The Kangaroo River Water Sharing Plan area

 

Organisations Responsible for Water Management

Table A1 presents information on organisations responsible for water management activities within the Sydney region.

Table A1. Organisations and utilities responsible for water management activities within the Sydney region

Organisation

Responsibility

Storage reservoirs operated within the region

Delta Electricity

 

  • water supply for power generation (coal)
  • reservoir manager
  • infrastructure operator
  • environmental and riparian flow manager
  • Lake Lyell
  • Lake Wallace  
  • Thomsons Creek Reservoir

 

Eraring Energy

  • water supply for power generation (hydro-power)
  • infrastructure operator

 

Goulburn Mulwaree Council

 

  • retail urban utility
  • reservoir manager
  • infrastructure operator
  • wastewater system operator

 

  • Pejar Reservoir
  • Sooley Reservoir

 

Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority

  • natural resources management
  • developing and implementing river health strategies

 

Lithgow City Council

  • retail urban utility
  • reservoir manager
  • infrastructure operator
  • wastewater system operator

 

  • Farmers Creek No. 2 Reservoir

 

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (within the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet)

  • overseeing environmental water management
  • advising on water quality, water pollution and treatment
  • supporting wetland conservation and management
  • securing water for the environment through planning mechanisms, water purchase and water-efficient infrastructure

 

NSW Office of Water

  • setting policy, necessary legal instruments and overseeing mechanisms to manage water in the region

 

Office of the Hawkesbury-Nepean

  • coordinating the river management activities of NSW Government agencies and access for information
  • providing opportunities for public involvement in river management

 

Palerang Council

  • retail urban utility
  • infrastructure operator
  • wastewater system operator

 

Shoalhaven City Council

 

  • retail urban utility
  • reservoir manager
  • infrastructure operator
  • wastewater system operator

  • Bamarang Reservoir
  • Danjera Reservoir
  • Flat Rock Creek Reservoir

 

Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority

  • natural resources management
  • developing and implementing river health strategies

 

Sydney Catchment Authority

  • bulk water supply
  • reservoir manager
  • infrastructure operator
  • environmental and riparian flow manager
  • catchment management, including ensuring new developments in the drinking water catchments have a neutral and beneficial effect on water quality; grants and incentives to improve land management and wastewater management; and community education initiatives

 

  • Cataract Reservoir
  • Cordeaux Reservoir
  • Avon Reservoir
  • Nepean Reservoir
  • Lake Burragorang (Warragamba Dam)
  • Prospect Reservoir
  • Wingecarribee Reservoir
  • Fitzroy Falls Reservoir
  • Lake Yarrunga (Tallowa Dam)
  • Blue Mountain storage reservoirs (Medlow Reservoir, Greaves Creek Reservoir, Upper Cascade Reservoir, Middle Cascade Reservoir  and Lower Cascade Reservoir)

Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority

  • natural resources management
  • developing and implementing river health strategies

 

Sydney Water

  • retail urban utility
  • infrastructure operator
  • wastewater system operator

 

Wingecarribee Shire Council

 

  • retail urban utility
  • reservoir manager
  • infrastructure operator
  • wastewater system operator

  • Bundanoon Reservoir
  • Medway Reservoir