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Regional projects

Wilcannia Weir Replacement Project

The new weir will provide long-term town water supplies for Wilcannia.

New site for Wilcannia Weir

About the project

The Wilcannia Weir Replacement Project aims to improve water security for the township of Wilcannia, enhance cultural connection to the river for local communities and deliver improved native fish migration along the river system.  It will achieve this by constructing a new weir and fishway downstream of the existing weir. The project is jointly funded by the NSW and Australian Governments.

The new weir will provide long-term town water supplies to preserve and enhance the social, economic and environmental benefits for Wilcannia, its people and its surrounds.


The new weir and fishway aims to deliver a range of benefits including:

  • improved water security for Wilcannia
  • enhanced cultural connection to the river
  • improved water management of the weir pool
  • increased tourism opportunities and investment
  • better recreational amenity to walk, swim, picnic and fish
  • improved native fish migration.

Project need

The existing Wilcannia Weir was constructed in 1942 for the purpose of providing a more reliable town water supply for Wilcannia. Water levels have decreased due to upstream development activities since the weir was built. This has caused the river quality and quantity to be altered for the community of Wilcannia.

Water Infrastructure NSW understands the importance of the river to the community and want to design and construct infrastructure that meets community needs and expectations and maintains the strong connection people have to the river.

Project status

Water Infrastructure NSW is currently reviewing the submissions it received during the public exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which closed in August-2022. These will be used for the final Preferred Infrastructure Report that will go on public exhibition in 2024.

The design of the new structure is underway which will inform our approach to construction to ensure we deliver the best outcome for Wilcannia.

The construction timeline will be available once the detailed design and Environmental Impact Statement for the weir are further progressed.

While the EIS submissions review and design process is taking place, we are progressing other key components of the project including:

  • completing a series of geotechnical studies to help inform the weir’s final design
  • appointing a contractor to undertake remedial works on sewer pump station 1 and 2 located in Hood and Martin Streets; with the sewage pumps scheduled to arrive in Wilcannia in late August
  • finalising the concept design for the Community River Place in collaboration with community representatives
  • progressing additional site survey investigations at the southern end of Union Bend Rd to enable the inclusion of a turning area near the Community River Place.

View more information about these activities below.

Geotechnical and geophysical studies

Water Infrastructure NSW recently completed a series of geotechnical and geophysical assessments at the new weir site. The soil samples and data collected will be assessed to help inform the weir’s final design.

The assessments involved drilling boreholes on the northern and southern bank of the Darling-Baaka River to analyse ground conditions, as well as on-water assessments to determine the riverbed and sedimentary profile in-and-around the new weir location. These on-water assessments were conducted by boat using non-intrusive acoustic and seismic technology.

A local Wilcannia community member attended the works to provide cultural monitoring.

Further studies and surveys are planned to investigate in greater detail the current and new weir sites, and some parts of Union Bend Road to inform the final weir design. These further assessments are expected to be completed in August 2023.

Stormwater mitigation works

The sewage pumps for the stormwater mitigation system recently arrived in the country. They are currently being assembled at the supplier’s facility in Western Sydney and are scheduled to be delivered to Wilcannia in late August 2023.

Once installed, they will provide automatic back-up (via a diesel-powered engine) to the existing submersible pumps - should they fail at any point.

The installation of the stormwater mitigation system is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2024.

The sewage system upgrade, when completed, will prevent instances of raw sewage flowing into the Darling Baaka river system through the stormwater system.

Community River Place (Ngatji Hole)

Water Infrastructure NSW is currently developing the final Community River Place design.

The need for a Community River Place was identified during previous stakeholder consultation with the Wilcannia community. It was subsequently detailed in the Environmental Impact Statement process in 2022.

The site will provide an important recreational area for the local community, where they can gather to share stories, fish and swim.

Water Infrastructure NSW will be holding design development sessions in Wilcannia with community representatives over the coming months.

The purpose of these sessions is to discuss the concept design for the site and to get community feedback. This feedback will provide vital inputs for the final design.

Union Bend Road upgrade 

Water Infrastructure NSW is progressing additional site investigations at the southern end of Union Bend Rd after Stage One (1) of the Union Bend Road upgrades were unexpectedly halted earlier in 2022 due to wet weather.

These assessments are being undertaken to capture existing utilities, emergency bore pump units and inground pits. This information is needed to incorporate a vehicle turning area at the southern end of the road.

The road upgrade will support the vehicles and machinery required to build the new weir structure. It will eventually become the main access road to the new weir and to the Community River Place recreational area.

Community consultation

Water Infrastructure NSW understands the importance of the river to the community and wants to design and construct a weir meeting community needs and expectations and maintaining the strong connection people have to the river.

Community drop-in sessions, to share information and get feedback on the development of the project, are being held at key milestones. Regular updates to the community via newsletter, fact sheets, newspaper and radio are also being made available.

Why Wilcannia needs a new weir and the benefits of its installation

Learn about the history of the existing Wilcannia Weir, what the new weir will look like and how the team worked with the community on its planning.
October 2021

How the new weir will work

Understand the innovative design proposed for the new weir site and how it will benefit both the people of Wilcannia and the environment.
December 2021

What planning processes does the weir need to go through

Learn about the rigorous environmental planning process the weir project has to go through ahead of construction.
November 2021

What the Wilcannia Weir Replacement Project means to the community

Hear about what the project means to the Wilcannia community and how they will contribute to the weir’s development.
December 2020

How the project is creating local employment opportunities

Learn about the Union Bend Road upgrade and how it is supporting employment in the Wilcannia region.
March 2022

The training initiatives as part of the project

Water Infrastructure NSW continues to work closely with key stakeholders to provide the local community with employment training opportunities. Hear from some of the Wilcannia locals who have completed training and development programs as part of the new weir project.
April 2021

Project updates

Media articles

A Baaka Adventure with Gillie

To further support community engagement and awareness of the weir replacement project, a children’s activity booklet A Baaka Adventure with Gillie was developed. The booklet provides educational information on local river life and ecology. Individual booklet pages or a set of 6 combined pages can be downloaded as PDFs from the links below:

Contact us

For more information about the project, email us at wilcanniaweir@dpie.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 081 047.