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Regional projects

Western Weirs Program

Transition to Water Infrastructure NSW

As of 1 July 2021, responsibility for the proposed Western Weirs Program 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 Strategic Business Case (SBC) to examine the following overarching objectives of the Western Weirs Program:

  • improve water security for towns in the far west region, including Aboriginal communities supplied by those towns.
  • investigate infrastructure options that may improve the adaptive management of flows along the system.
  • investigate weir ownership and future funding arrangements, including consideration of local and state government concerns on the cost of ongoing operations and maintenance of critical river infrastructure.

Background

The NSW Government has committed approximately $4.2 million from the Restart NSW Water Security for Regions Program for the development and submission of a Strategic Business Case (SBC). The Water Security for Regions Program aims to help regional communities improve water security.

There are currently 28 weirs included in the study area under the following principles:

  • weirs are located on the main stem river of the Barwon Darling or Lower Darling rivers in NSW between Mungindi and Wentworth
  • a weir that is on a tributary to the Barwon Darling River and its primary purpose is potable drinking water supply for local towns, or its proximity to Barwon Darling River provides an opportunity to investigate improved system functionality and environmental flows.

The current weir infrastructure is known to have several deficiencies including town water supply and security concerns, flow regulation limitations, poor condition, and in some cases unclear ownership and responsibility for maintenance.

The Strategic Business Case will assess the feasibility of changing the operation of the existing river infrastructure by replacing existing fixed crest weirs with regulated or ‘gated’ weirs, altering the height of some weirs and possible removal of other weirs.

The approach aims to enable the management of flows along the system to support far western town water supplies and provide related socio-economic, environmental and cultural benefits. The project is closely aligned with the Western Regional Water Strategy that is being developed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. The project will also be required to consider interactions with the Menindee Lakes SDLAM Project and projects to protect and enhance native fish outcomes, including fish passage.

Project details and benefits

If fully implemented, the program is expected to deliver:

  • better protection of Aboriginal People’s rights, interests and access to water
  • the construction of new infrastructure to meet town water security needs, which may include an integrated system of gated weirs to replace the current fixed crest weirs along all or parts of the river, or other cost-effective alternatives
  • the provision of fish passage on all new or augmented weirs
  • the removal of weirs and river structures that provide no effective water supply security outcomes and impede fish passage
  • amendments to the Water Sharing Plans, if new infrastructure improves the opportunity for adaptive management of flows
  • new ownership, maintenance, operations and cost recovery arrangements for infrastructure and operations along the river.

Location map

map of Western Weirs
Map of Western Weirs
Contact us

For more information about the project call 1300 662 077 or email westernweirs@dpie.nsw.gov.au.