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Yanco Creek Modernisation Project

Frequently asked questions

Yanco Creek Modernisation Project

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about the project.

Will each part of the project have its own environmental approval or the will they be combined in one assessment and approvals process?

Based on the project plan, the environmental approvals are anticipated to be progressed throughout 2022. The planning approvals pathway will also consider Australian Government requirements such as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), Matters of National Environmental Significance and others.

Our team is currently working on project planning and documenting the process and how it relates to each of the preferred options and the broader project. We expect the approach to be finalised in the coming months and will share this with our stakeholders when available.

Why is the Yanco Creek Offtake Project not included in this package of works?

We are committed to working with communities to deliver projects which have broad community support. Recognising this project is unique, it cannot be delivered in its current form by 2024 and is currently being rescoped.

How is the Yanco Connection (offtake) Project different to the (Yanco Creek Modernisation) Project we have been shown?  

The Yanco Connection Offtake Project looks at options where water flows out of the Murrumbidgee River into the Yanco Creek System. The Yanco Creek Modernisation Project looks at options in the Yanco Creek System downstream of the offtake.

Who is responsible for delivering this project?

This project is part of the broader Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) Acceleration Program and has both NSW and Australian Government support. The Yanco Creek Modernisation Project is being led by the Department of Planning and Environment’s Water Infrastructure NSW. It is being delivered by the 3Rivers Partnership, a collaboration between Water Infrastructure NSW and consulting firms GHD and Jacobs, working closely with technical partners and the community.

The project includes Stakeholder and Technical Advisory Groups to ensure there are community and technical inputs into the project development and assessment. Community and stakeholder engagement for the project recognises that communities have the local knowledge needed to make the best investment decisions.

Is Water NSW involved in the project? 

We are committed to having a whole of government approach to the delivery of these significant projects. The Department of Planning and Environment is the project proponent and the 3Rivers Partnership team is responsible for leading the project delivery. WaterNSW is a key stakeholder and is expected to be the ultimate owner and operator of most of the new infrastructure developed. As members of the project’s Technical Advisory Group, WaterNSW will have significant input into project design and operational considerations.

What are the expected water savings from the modernisation project?

The Yanco Creek Modernisation Project is part of the SDLAM Acceleration Program (the Acceleration Program). The Acceleration Program will deliver up to 45 GL of the outstanding amount needed to reach the 605 GL target required by the Murray Darling Basin Plan each year, delivering strong ecological outcomes for the Murray-Darling Basin. Early estimates indicate the Yanco Creek Modernisation Project will deliver between seven and 16GL of water savings per year.

Why do we have to give up water here for downstream users? 

This project is identifying real world outcomes to benefit this community, each element of this project it attempting to provide benefit for all creek users. The Yanco Creek Modernisation Project is focused on smarter and more efficient water use, as opposed to taking water away from the Yanco Creek System.

How does the YCMP fit into the Murray Darling Basin Authority reconciliation process, using the ecological scoring tool?

The Yanco Creek Modernisation Project uses Environmental Water Requirements (EWRs) to provide a best available scientific approach to assess real world outcomes. Although there are several similarities, this approach is different to the current Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) reconciliation process. Further discussions with the MDBA and Murray Darling Basin Plan partner governments will be required regarding the use of EWRs, once the proposed process for using them is developed.

What is being done about fish passage and breeding?

Many projects within the Yanco Creek Modernisation Project investigate the construction and restoration of fish passage between water bodies, to enable native fish to safely bypass obstacles such as weirs and fish barriers. By re-establishing these travel corridors, species will have greater access to habitat and breeding areas.

How much fish research has been conducted in the creek system and as part of the project? 

We are working closely with the Department of Regional NSW’s Fisheries division (Fisheries). They are a member of the project’s Technical Advisory Group and are a key stakeholder. Fisheries has made historical fish research in the Yanco Creek system available, including fish monitoring analysis, barriers to fish passage information, and best practice design and construction information for the development of fish ladders.

Will there be an allocation of native fish back into the system?

Fish restocking is beyond the scope of the infrastructure being delivered through the Yanco Creek Modernisation Project; however, we will continue to work with other government departments as appropriate.

What will happen if COVID-19 restrictions continue?

The project team is working to keep the project moving and manage the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. We understand local communities prefer face-to-face consultation, but where this isn’t possible, we will have online consultations. Focus is also being placed on undertaking project activities, such as survey and geotechnical investigations, in a COVID-safe manner. Alternatives are being considered for subsequent acceleration opportunities to hopefully mitigate any impacts of further COVID-19 restrictions.

Will landholders downstream of Wanganella be invited to the focus group to discuss the downstream flow regimes post infrastructure upgrades?

Yes, we will take on board the feedback of downstream landowners and will ensure they are invited to participate in focus groups. We are committed to ensuring anyone affected by project infrastructure can engage with the project team.

Who are the members of the Advisory Groups?

The function of the Yanco Stakeholder Advisory Group (the stakeholder advisory group) is to provide the project team with high quality, well considered strategic advice and recommendations on matters related to the Yanco Creek Modernisation Project.

The stakeholder advisory group is chaired by an independent facilitator and is an important part of the governance of the project. It comprises representatives of relevant local organisations, including:

  • local councils (Murrumbidgee Council, Federation Council, and Edward River Council)
  • Yanco Creek and Tributaries Advisory Council
  • First Nations Groups
  • Creek Country Alliance
  • Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists
  • NSW Farmers Association
  • recreation/tourism representatives.

The Yanco Technical Advisory Group includes technical experts from a range of organisations, including:

  • the Department of Planning and Environment’s (the department) Water Infrastructure NSW
  • the department’s Environment and Heritage division
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Department of Regional NSW Fisheries division
  • Murray-Darling Basin Authority
  • Yanco Creek and Tributaries Advisory Council
  • Murray Irrigation Limited
  • Coleambally Irrigation Cooperative Limited
  • WaterNSW
  • Australian Government’s Environmental Water Office
  • Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

How many positions for Indigenous parties are on the Advisory Group?

There are two First Nations positions on the Yanco Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Will there be any re-badging of supplementary water to high security at the Gogelderie Weir?

This is not being considered as part of the Yanco Creek Modernisation Project. For a list of the projects forming part of the project, visit the project site.