A NSW Government website

How water is allocated

Resource assessment process

Water is allocated by assessing the supply, assessing existing commitments, assessing for available water determination (AWD) and announcing the AWD.

Assessing water resources

When determining how much water will be allocated to water users, there are number of considerations, including:

  • how much water is in storage and how much of that is carried over as unused water from the previous year, including undelivered inter-state trades, where applicable
  • how much water is expected to flow into storages from natural inflows over the forecast period
  • the volume required to run the river, including end of system flows, transmission losses and evaporation losses
  • other requirements, including storage reserves and credits to environmental water allowances, where applicable.

In making the water resource assessment, the lowest recorded inflow sequence as at the commencement of the first water sharing plan is used so that the department only allocates water that is very likely to flow into the storages. Not all inflows contribute to increasing allocations.

How water is allocated and shared between the Murray and Menindee Lake

The NSW government is responsible for distributing the states water between different needs by prioritising it for different uses.

Process map of how water is allocated

Simple overview of how water is allocated in valleys in NSW.
A simple overview of how water is allocated in valleys in NSW.

How are water losses calculated?

This video explains how losses in river regulated systems are calculated, and how this effects water allocations in NSW.

How water allocations change

This video answers a common question about how we manage and allocate water in the Murray-Darling Basin.