Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
Macquarie River catchment annual water use options 2012-13
This factsheet provides an overview of Macquarie River catchment water use options for 2012-13. More detail about these options is on Annual Water Use Options 2012-13: Macquarie River catchment.
The Macquarie River catchment is located within NSW. It includes the Bogan River system and the Macquarie River system to where the Macquarie River meets the Barwon-Darling River system. It does not include the Castlereagh Rivers basin. The Macquarie River flows from near Oberon on the western side of the Blue Mountains to the Barwon River (which downstream becomes the Darling River) near Carinda.
Water availability for the Macquarie River catchment in 2012-13
Up to 201 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water will be available for use in the Macquarie River catchment during 2012-13. Up to 2 gigalitres of supplementary water may also be available. Information about the overall management of the Commonwealth environmental water holdings including options for carryover and trade, can be found in the Portfolio management statement at: Portfolio management statement at Portfolio Management Statement 2012-13: Macquarie River Catchment
Why is environmental water required in the Macquarie River catchment?
The Macquarie River catchment requires environmental water to protect and restore its rivers and wetlands. Environmental water provides more natural flow patterns to the Murray-Darling Basin river system, this in turn contributes to the wellbeing of regional communities who depend on sustainable water management to support healthy rivers, strong communities and productive economies.
The Macquarie River catchment contains a diverse range of habitats including river and creek systems and wetlands. The catchment includes the Macquarie Marshes which is a wetland of international importance. A variety of native plant communities including river red gum woodland, common reed and water couch, provide habitat for waterbirds such as rufous night herons, egrets and cormorants. The marshes are one of the most important sites in Australia for waterbird breeding. The river and creek systems provide habitat for a range of native fish including Murray cod, blackfish, silver perch and catfish.
Commonwealth environmental watering in 2012- 13 aims to build on the benefits of watering from previous years. Details about Commonwealth environmental watering events and outcomes from previous years can be found in our Annual reports and Outcomes reports at: publication section.
What do we want to achieve in 2012-13?
The aim of Commonwealth environmental watering in the Macquarie River catchment during 2012-13 is to build on the natural recovery processes that began following the breaking of the drought in 2010. This involves supporting the natural regrowth of native plants and improving the water quality of river and wetland environments. These activities, combined with connecting rivers to their wetlands and billabongs, will provide good quality habitat in which native fish, waterbirds and other native animals can breed and grow.
To achieve these environmental benefits we will continue to work closely with staff from state agencies, industry and landowners within the catchment to ensure that the proposed water use options take into account operational and management considerations and local environmental conditions.
Some options for environmental water use in the Macquarie River catchment
Examples of proposed watering options in this catchment during 2012-13 include providing:
- river flows, wetland and flood plain inundation in the North, South and Eastern Macquarie Marshes to contribute to the ongoing recovery of river red gum communities and, if required, support the successful completion of bird breeding events
- river pulse flow in the Macquarie River–Dubbo Weir to enable the movement of native fish and support the survival of fingerlings to increase fish numbers
- river pulse flow and wetland inundation in Crooked Creek to improve water quality, maintain the health of native plant communities in wetlands and along the creek banks, and enable the movement and survival of native fish.
How were the environmental water use options developed?
A range of annual water use options have been developed for each catchment where the Commonwealth holds environmental water. All options have been developed based on advice from stakeholders including the Commonwealth's Environmental Water Scientific Advisory Panel, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, State Water Corporation, Department of Primary Industries (NSW Office of Water), the Macquarie Catchment Management Authority, the Macquarie Environmental Flow Reference Group, wetland managers, local water users and landholders, and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
Each option contributes to meeting the overall environmental objectives of the Proposed Basin Plan - A revised draft, released on 28 May 2012. The options do not represent a commitment for water use. Decisions on Commonwealth environmental water use will be made throughout the year after an assessment of the seasonal, operational and management conditions at the time. Water use planning and operations will also be updated once the Basin Plan is made.
How can you be involved?
Local groups, state governments and others are working with us to manage Commonwealth environmental water by giving advice on where it can be best used, help to deliver the water, and to monitor outcomes. The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office welcomes information from the community on how environmental water can best be managed including further suggestions on the water use options.
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For further information on the management and use of Commonwealth environmental water please visit publication section