The department commissioned an independent review of the issues and options for permanent and temporary trade between the Peel and Lower Namoi regulated water sources.
The review considered a range of issues associated with trade, including:
- Stakeholders feedback
- Water availability and impacts
- Impact on water charges
- Potential for impact on long-term average annual extraction limits (LTAAEL) and sustainable diversion limits (SDL)
- Consideration of sleeper licences
- Social and economic impacts
- Demand for trade
- Feasibility and practicality of implementation
The review made two findings:
- The current permanent trade arrangements provide a reasonable balance between impacts in the Peel and Lower Namoi regulated systems, compared to other potential models for inter-valley trade.
- The administrative and operational costs and the overall benefits of inter-valley trade should be reviewed and consideration given to whether ceasing inter-valley trade until there is a demonstrated level of demand for trade is appropriate.
The department is now considering these findings.