The Nationals in Government have committed $1.2 million to allow for the better management of water on the Macquarie River.
The funding will pay for a business case for a new regulator, which NSW Nationals Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair said would form part of a future water strategy for the Macquarie, identifying infrastructure and policy solutions for water use in the region.
“Water is fundamental to life in our regions and as we are currently seeing, water security in the Macquarie is vulnerable in times of drought,” Mr Blair said while visiting Gin Gin weir. “While we continue consultation on a regional water strategy for the Macquarie, we want to get started on the work that will help inform what infrastructure we need and where it should be built. This year, nearly a third of the water available in the Macquarie system is expected to be lost as a result of operating the system.”
NSW Nationals Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said previous studies had shown that a mid-system water storage located in the vicinity of Gin Gin weir — between Narromine and Warren — could provide the flexibility the river operators need to limit the water lost through evaporation and increase the capacity of the Macquarie River to deliver water needed for both productive and environmental purposes.
“The purpose of any new regulator will be to create consistency of water supply for agriculture and other industries during both wet and dry periods and to improve water efficiency throughout the Macquarie system,” Mr Grant said.
A river regulator is a barrage constructed across a river to raise its level and control its flow.
WaterNSW will develop the business case for this project, which will explore the engineering feasibility, environmental considerations and costs of the proposed storage.
Candidate for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said he was pleased to see the Nationals in Government focusing on the future of water security for the regions.
“For any region facing drought, water security for our towns, agricultural industries and the environment is a priority,” Mr Saunders said. “What the Government is doing now is planning for the future protection of regional economies and valuable environmental assets.”