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Translucent flows to be reviewed

Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair has ordered a review of the provisions for translucent flow releases from inland regulated river storages.

“These provisions were originally designed to mimic natural flows and improve river health and connectivity prior to large scale water recovery in the Murray Darling Basin,” Mr Blair said.

“Environmental water holders now manage considerable water entitlement portfolios and translucent flow rules, although supported by some downstream water users, continue to be questioned by communities.”

“It is time to review these rules and determine whether the intended environmental outcomes could be achieved with a more flexible approach.”

DPI Water will undertake a review to investigate the efficacy of translucent flows, and whether other forms of environmental water are able to achieve those same outcomes while minimising potential negative impacts to river communities.

DPI Water will conduct the review in consultation with key stakeholders including the Department of Environment and Heritage.

The provisions for translucent water releases are made in many of the inland-regulated water sharing plans for NSW, including the Lachlan, Macquarie, Murrumbidgee and NSW Border Rivers.

Translucent flows occur when a portion of inflows from specific flow events are passed through a regulating structure – usually a dam – to enable a near-natural flow pulse into the river system.

These flows do not involve the use of licensed environmental water, but are a fixed rule that designates releases to reflect natural conditions at the time.

Any proposed changes will be discussed with communities and are required to be consistent with the Murray Darling Bain Plan.

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