The Snowy River - an Historic Agreement
In 1998, recognising concerns about the condition of the Snowy River, the NSW and Victorian Governments commissioned the Hon Robert Webster to conduct an inquiry into environmental flows in the Snowy.
After extensive discussion and negotiations with the Commonwealth Government, a Heads of Agreement was reached in December 2000, agreed to by all Governments and accepted by South Australia.
The Victorian, New South Wales and Victorian Governments made a commitment for a phased return of flows to the Snowy River. The targets set were to return:
- 15% of average natural flows by 2009 (142 gigalitres per year)
- 21% of average natural flows by 2012 (212 gigalitres per year).
The Governments also agreed that, post 2012, an additional 7% of further flows – up to a total of 28% of average natural flows at Jindabyne – may be achieved following the implementation of an additional major capital works program.
The agreement specifically stated there would be no adverse impacts on water entitlements for irrigation in the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Goulburn–Murray River systems, or on water security or quality for South Australia.
The Snowy Flows Again - Intergovernmental Co-Operation on Water Reform Paper
(Presented at the 4th Australasian Water Law & Policy Conference, 24 & 25 October 2002, Sydney)