Transition to Water Infrastructure NSW
As of 1 July 2021, responsibility for the proposed Macquarie River re-regulating storage project transitioned from WaterNSW to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Water Infrastructure NSW, which is a Division of the Water Group.
For project continuity, key project staff have also moved across and previous WaterNSW project specific contact points (i.e. email and phone numbers) are being forwarded.
About the project
Water Infrastructure NSW is developing a Final Business Case (FBC) for a proposed re-regulating storage including a fishway structure on the Macquarie River. This structure will contribute towards improving water access reliability and resilience for the region and follows recommendations by Infrastructure NSW in the 2014 State Infrastructure Strategy (PDF, 946 KB) and the NSW Government’s 20 Year Infrastructure Options Study.
Earlier studies and consultation focused on location options for the re-regulating storage between Warren and Narromine, with specific sites being investigated near Gin Gin Weir and Rocky Point. Following the options investigation and consultation, the preferred site has been identified and is proposed to be located 200 metres downstream of the existing Gin Gin Weir. The site was selected after detailed assessment against the strategic priorities of the draft Macquarie-Castlereagh regional water strategy, as well as environmental, social and economic impacts.
The future of the existing Gin Gin Weir will also form part of the project with studies to consider fully or partially decommissioning the weir.
Outcomes of the community and stakeholder consultation, environmental and engineering studies will be included in the Final Business Case planned to be submitted to the NSW Government in late 2021/early 2022, and will be assessed by Infrastructure NSW under the Infrastructure Investor Assurance Framework Gateway 2 process.
Before the structure can be constructed, Water Infrastructure NSW needs to secure all the necessary planning approvals and deliver an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for community comment. Further assessments will be undertaken to inform the EIS involving technical, hydrological, environmental, biodiversity, cultural and economic feasibility studies, and further community and stakeholder consultation. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs), which have been prepared in consultation with relevant public authorities. Public exhibition of the EIS will be made available in accordance with statutory guidelines.
An Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conversation (EPBC) referral was submitted in April 2020. The Australian Government’s Minister for the Environment has decided the proposal requires further assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act). The project will be assessed in Schedule 1 to the Bilateral Agreement made under section 45 of the EPBC Act and in accordance with the requirements of Item 3 of Schedule 1 of the Bilateral Agreement. These additional SEARs provide information on assessment requirements in relation to matters of national environmental significance.
Water Infrastructure NSW has engaged GHD, an environmental and engineering consultancy, as a delivery partner for the project.
The project will be developed to align with the Macquarie-Castlereagh Regional Water Strategy which is being development. This strategy will identify policy, planning and infrastructure options that deliver resilient water resources for all water users in the Macquarie Valley. For more information on the Regional Water Strategy and for details on the consultation timeline, please visit the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Water webpage.
This project and the Macquarie-Castlereagh Regional Water Strategy are both supported through funding from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.