A NSW Government website

North-west flows in early 2020

Critical water needs (temporary restrictions)

The temporary water restrictions were managed using a set of principles and targets in the region.

Temporary restrictions

The rainfall created substantial flows in the Border Rivers, Peel, Namoi, Gwydir and Macquarie valleys. The rain fell, in the most part, below the major storages. Pumping access had to be actively managed to protect the flows as they travelled downstream.

Under normal conditions, water sharing plans set the rules for water extraction. However, during extreme events, such as drought, additional restrictions can be applied. Department of Planning and Environment–Water temporarily restricted most commercial pumping access to river flows and overland flows in these areas. This allowed the replenishment of town supplies and fish refuge pools downstream. It also allowed the reconnection of the rivers of the Northern Basin, including the Barwon-Darling and the Lower Darling River. For more information on what was achieved for people and the environment see Replenishment of Town Water Supplies, Replenishment of Groundwater, Water Quality, Fish, Wetlands and Riparian Habitats.

The temporary water restrictions were managed using a set of principles and targets developed by Department of Planning and Environment–Water, the Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), Water NSW, and Department of Planning and Environment–Environment and Heritage. For more information on how the temporary water restrictions were applied, see our series of fact sheets.

An independent panel is reviewing the management of the temporary water restrictions. For information on this work, view the Northern Basin First Flush Assessment webpage.