A NSW Government website

Northern Basin projects

Northern Basin Toolkit

Improving the ecological health of northern Basin rivers through environmental infrastructure works.

Birds in a wetland

About the Northern Basin Toolkit

The Northern Basin Toolkit is a collection of projects, or 'toolkit measures', supporting a 70 GL reduction in water recovery targets in the northern Basin rivers under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, agreed to by state and Australian Governments.

The toolkit will improve the ecological health of northern Basin rivers through environmental infrastructure works and measures identified in the Northern Basin Review.

These include:

  • arrangements to protect environmental flows
  • targeted recovery of water
  • event-based mechanisms (such as options for pumping and store-and-release)
  • improvements to the coordination and delivery of environmental water
  • environmental works and measures to promote fish movement and habitat (such as building fishways)
  • removal of physical constraints in the Gwydir catchment to improve flows to the wetlands.
Why is the Northern Basin Toolkit important?

The Murray Darling Basin Plan was developed to improve and maintain healthy rivers and floodplains, while supporting sustainable agriculture, industries and communities. The plan is about more than water recovery, it is about striking a balance to ensure a resilient and productive environment for the future.

The Northern Basin Toolkit is a $180 million investment in the ecological health of the northern Basin and will be implemented in a way that generates jobs and economic activity in rural and regional communities. The toolkit measures will create opportunities for local communities; improve river management across the northern Basin and protect water for the environment.

Working with the NSW and Queensland Governments, the Australian Government is providing up to $180 million for the implementation of toolkit projects.

The NSW Government is responsible for delivering four projects under the toolkit as outlined below.

View of Macquarie Marshes.

Restoring flow distribution to the wetlands.

Baffled fishway made with rocks allowing movement of migratory native fish species.

Creating fish migration paths across more than 1000 km of waterways.

Dubbo turf farm. Credit: Tom Rayner

Growing fish populations by protecting them from irrigation pumps.

Whittakers Lagoon along Mehi River, Gwydir

Building environmental water corridors in the Gwydir to support the lifecycle needs of wildlife.

More information, visit

Northern Basin Toolkit

Contact us

Phone 1300 081 047

or email nbtk@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Photo credit: Nicola Brookhouse