New South Wales
Comparison between the 1985 and 2000 'snapshot' assessments is difficult. Factors include the time between assessments (more than 15 years); seasonality and variability of climate; significant potential for changes in land use; and fluctuations in domestic and global market demands.
Water Use, Climate and the Audit Baseline Year - 1996/97
The baseline year for the Audit is the 1996/97 agricultural year starting on the 1st April and ending on 31st of March. For water use the data was compiled for the period 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997 (water calendar year). When it is necessary to collect information for more than one year, the data collected must cover that year or, alternatively, appropriately adjusted to provide a best estimate for that year.
For water use data States and Territories were requested to provide a 5 yearly average value based on the 1996/97 year. Use figures were adjusted in areas where, due to climatic conditions, the water use was not considered to be 'average'.
Climate in 1996/97
During 1996 there was a transition from the weak large-scale climate controls to a strong El Ni?o condition after March 1997. This resulted in a drying over a large part of southern and eastern Australia. From July until September 1996 Victoria had unusually cold and wet weather. The remainder of the southern half of Australia was also wet for three months. Significant areas in south-west Queensland, western and central New South Wales, South Australia, western Victoria, and southern Western Australia had rainfall totals within the highest 10% on record.
During the summer of 1996-97, there was a very active monsoonal season in the tropical zones in western Australia and the Northern Territory. However, this finished abruptly and early, as El Ni?o developed rapidly in autumn 1997. From October 1996 very dry conditions prevailed over most of Victoria, the grain belts of South Australia and north-east Tasmania. Areas of southern Victoria through to south-east South Australia had the driest October to June period on record.
May 1997 brought rain to southern Australia and average to above average rain to parts of Queensland. There was some relief to farmers from the dry and hot conditions over southern Australia in early 1997. In parts of southern Victoria and south-east South Australia the driest October to June period was reported. (ABS Water Account, 2000)
Climate in 1983/84 (Water Review 85)
Water use in any particular year is affected by weather conditions. For much of Australia, the period, July 1983 to June 1984, was equivalent to a normal year in which water use was about average. In south-east Australia, however, abnormal weather patterns were experienced. In general, rainfall totals throughout Victoria were high during the first half of the year but were lower than average in the second half. These weather conditions, along with a continuing sensitivity to water use following the 1982/83 drought, had a marked effect on water usage. Although the 1982/83 drought that affected most of Victoria was broken by above-average rains early in the year, water restrictions in many urban areas were not lifted until much later in the year. Urban water use was therefore less than average, due both to the heavy rains and to the continuance of water restrictions.
The above-average rains in the first half of 1983-84 greatly reduced irrigation demands, and by mid-season virtually unrestricted supplies of water were made available to farmers (for example, 200% of water rights in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District). The drier conditions in the latter half of the year somewhat compensated for this, but total usage for the year was generally far less than average.
Rural usage was also less than average, again due to the early wet conditions and sensitivity about excessive water use following the 1982-83 drought. (DPIE, 1987).
Note: The change in water use volume from 1985 to 1996 does not always reflect factors affecting consumption patterns and volumes such as population growth, industry or land-use change or operational improvements. The observed difference may partly be attributed to differences in the approach and assumptions used to estimate water use within the river basin.
Estimates of groundwater use for the Great Artesian Basin are not included in the total use reported for the surface water river basins in NSW.
A direct comparison between data reported for 1985 and 1996 cannot be made for the Murray Riverina Basin due to a change in the boundary definition of the Basin. For this current assessment the Murray Riverina Basin has been defined as the regulated stretch of the Murray River extending from Lake Hume to the South Australian border. In 1985 the Murray Riverina Basin is defined as an area on the New South Wales side of the Murray River, extending from Hume Dam to a point just upstream of the confluence with the Murrumbidgee River.
|Basin Name||Use in 1983-84 (GL /yr)||Use in 1996-97 (GL /yr)||% Change|
|Barwon Darling Management Area||no data||192||no data|
|Bellinger River||7||no data||no data|
|Benanee||71||no data||no data|
|Brunswick River||3||no data||no data|
|Castlereagh River||10||no data||no data|
|Clarence River||25||no data||no data|
|Clyde River - Jervis Bay||5||no data||no data|
|Hastings River||8||no data||no data|
|Karuah River||3||no data||no data|
|Lake George||1||no data||no data|
|Lower Murray River||193||470||144|
|Macleay River||4||no data||no data|
|Macquarie - Tuggerah Lakes||14||no data||no data|
|Manning River||11||no data||no data|
|Moruya River||3||no data||no data|
|Shoalhaven River||16||no data||no data|
|Sydney Coast - Georges River||5||no data||no data|
|Towamba River||2||no data||no data|
|Tuross River||2||no data||no data|
|Tweed River||6||no data||no data|
|Upper Murray River||9||25||186|
|Wollongong Coast||1||no data||no data|
Note: The total surface water use reported for each river basin does not include the water consumption of the eleven major cities. The data for cities and river basins are reported in the State totals.
Table: Surface water diversion and allocation 1996-97
|Basin/SWMA Name||Allocation (GL/yr)||Diversion (GL/yr)||Diversion: Allocation (%)|
|New South Wales||9,825||8,500||0|
|Barwon Darling Management Area||no data||192||no data|
|Bega River - Regulated||16||5||33|
|Border Rivers (NSW) - Regulated||269||196||73|
|Darling River - Regulated||49||147||301|
|Gwydir River - Regulated||530||360||68|
|Hunter River - Regulated||206||114||55|
|Lachlan River - Regulated||665||259||39|
|Macquarie River - Regulated||674||407||60|
|Murray (Hume to Border) - Regulated (NSW Part Only)||2,231||1,914||86|
|Murrumbidgee River - Regulated||2,790||2,145||77|
|Namoi River - Regulated||264||227||86|
|Richmond River - Regulated||7||1||2|
Note: Allocation is not based on 1999-2000 estimates; Diversion based on five-yearly average 1996-97.
Note: In the table above, the total surface water use reported for each river basin does not include the water consumption of the eleven major cities. The data for cities are reported in the State totals. The volume diverted is the total volume of the SWMA's surface water resources diverted for use both within the management area and for export to other management area.
The major use of water in NSW is for irrigation and most of the irrigation development is located inland in the Murray-Darling basin.
The total volume of surface water allocated for use in NSW cannot be provided. Volumetric allocations have only been attached to licensed entitlements on the regulated rivers and the Barwon-Darling. At this stage licenses on unregulated rivers do not have volumetric allocations and a volumetric allocation is yet to be developed for the SWC and the HWC. As discussed in the Water Resource Management and in the Technical Report, NSW is progressively converting unregulated river licenses to volumetric management. As studies are completed yield information for unregulated streams will available on the DLWC web site waterinfo.dlwc.nsw.gov.au/drr/. This information will also be added to the DLWC Website at www.dlwc.nsw.gov.au
For the NSW regulated rivers and the Barwon-Darling portion of the Murray-Darling basin the total volume of water allocated for use is 7,995 GL.
NSW does not comprehensively collect details of crop usage. The average Urban & Industrial/Irrigation/Rural(Level One) use has been provided for the inland regulated rivers, the Barwon-Darling and the Hunter Basin based on the average use over the last five years at current levels of development, and MDBC cap (where applicable) and environmental flow management rules, from simulation models. Level one use has also been provided for the 1996/97 year. Water use is dominated by irrigation, which accounts for 95% of the total water allocation and uses an estimated 6,010 GL in an average each year. The difference between allocation and average use is due, in the main, to the effects of climate on the availability of the resource, with management responses to ensure Cap compliance, and some under-utilisation of allocations, also contributing.
Urban and industrial use accounts for a further 4% of the total water allocation, which is estimated to result in 253 GL of total use. Rural supplies only account for around 1% of total allocations, and an estimated 63 GL of annual use on average.
Please note: The tables set out below detailing Level 1 and Level 2 water use categories. The sum of the Level 2 water use volumes will not necessarily equal the total Level 1 water use volumes. This is primarily due to lack of more detailed water use data. However, where Level 2 use = Level 1 use then blank cells in the table does not indicate water use unaccounted for in these categories.
Table: Surface water use in New South Wales 1996-97
|Basin/SWMA Name||Irrigation (GL/yr)||Rural (GL/yr)||Urban / Industrial (GL/yr)||Total (GL/yr)||In-situ (GL/yr)|
|New South Wales||8,000||100||900||9,000||no data|
|Barwon Darling Management Area||192||1||no data||192||no data|
|Bega River - Regulated||5||1||1||5||no data|
|Border Rivers (NSW) - Regulated||194||1||2||196||no data|
|Darling River - Regulated||114||2||32||147||no data|
|Gwydir River - Regulated||357||2||2||360||no data|
|Hawkesbury River||no data||no data||477||477||no data|
|Hunter River - Regulated||46||1||68||114||no data|
|Lachlan River - Regulated||247||6||7||259||no data|
|Macquarie River - Regulated||386||3||19||407||no data|
|Murray (Hume to Border) - Regulated (NSW Part Only)||1,853||14||48||1,914||no data|
|Murrumbidgee River - Regulated||2,080||24||41||2,145||no data|
|Namoi River - Regulated||219||2||6||227||no data|
|Richmond River - Regulated||1||0||0||1||no data|
NSW uses approximately 1022 GL of groundwater. A total of 2540 GL of groundwater has been allocated for use.
"GMU"=Groundwater Management Unit "UA"=Unallocated Area
|Province||Use in 1983-84 (GL /yr)||Use in 1996-97 (GL /yr)||% change||Current Alloc (GL/yr)||Current Use : Alloc (%)||GMU / UA|
|New South Wales||344||1,009||194||no data||no data||GMU|
|no data||no data||UA|
|Great Artesian||no data||818||818||1,017||81||GMU|
|no data||no data||UA|
|Olary||1||1||no data||no data||no data||GMU|
Table: Groundwater use in New South Wales 1996-97
|Province||Irrigation (GL/yr)||Rural (GL/yr)||Urban / industry (GL/yr)||In-situ (GL/yr)||Total (GL/yr)||SY (GL/yr)|
|New South Wales||644||205||161||no data||1,009||6,298|
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater was encouraged in NSW by the issuing of licences which provided for a varying entitlement to groundwater, depending on surface water availability in any year. Licensees holding such a licence in addition to a surface water licence could, if they chose, increase their groundwater withdrawals in years when less than 100% of their entitlement to surface water was available because of low surface water resources. Arrangements varied between GMUs but in general the holder of a conjunctive licence could make up a large part of any surface water shortfall. It was useful while groundwater sources were substantially under-utilised, but became unworkable as sustainable groundwater yields were approached or exceeded. The increased groundwater use caused by such licences coincided with periods of maximum withdrawal by groundwater-only users and placed a severe strain on aquifers. Interference effects between pumping bores during irrigation periods became excessive.
Issue of conjunctive use licences has been discontinued. The conjunctive nature of surface and groundwater resources has been addressed by the development of aquifer sustainable yield estimates, which take account of river recharge. The aim of groundwater management in the GMUs is now to limit withdrawals to the sustainable yield. Some of the sustainable yield is derived from river recharge (or river losses), but withdrawals at rates which exceed sustainable yield and which would induce additional river losses will be progressively eliminated.
- New South Wales Water Resources Assessment 2000 Report
- New South Wales Water Resources Assessment 2000 Technical Report
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