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Published: 25 September 2019   •   Media release

The measurement and reporting of water use from the lower Murrumbidgee River in the district of Hay is supported by a robust set of checks and balances according to an audit conducted by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) earlier this year.

The MDBA Executive Director of Compliance, Brent Williams, said he was pleased that overall the audit showed sound processes had been established by WaterNSW and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and Environment (DPIE) to ensure rigour around water accounting for this region.

"The processes used to register water meter readings also provide assurance that appropriate data will be available to test compliance with the Basin Plan's new limit on water use once the Murrumbidgee water resource plan is accredited," Mr Williams said.

"While there is always room for improvement to increase transparency and improve consistency, the metering systems in the lower Murrumbidgee regulated surface water system are significantly more advanced than other parts of New South Wales.

"Currently, 85 per cent of water taken from this part of the river is telemetered, which sends almost-real-time water usage data to WaterNSW staff for monitoring. In addition, staff are alerted by a tamper alarm when unauthorised access to meters occurs.

"Overall, these results help to build local confidence that metered water use is correctly and reliably measured, validated and reported. We also found good use of local knowledge and experience by customer field officers to conduct in-field verification of meter readings."

The Murrumbidgee River is the third longest river in Australia, flowing from the Snowy Mountains in the east to the Murray River downstream of Balranald in the west. The system features the highest volume of water extraction managed by a single Basin state, supplying several large irrigation areas and numerous users diverting directly from the river. The lower Murrumbidgee system has also seen an increase in the number of large corporate enterprises operating in the area in recent years.

"It's fundamental to community confidence that we have a sound understanding of how much water is being used and that water users are doing the right thing," Mr Williams said.

"In conducting the audit, the MDBA appreciated the full cooperation of WaterNSW and DPIE. MDBA officers will continue to conduct similar assurance activities in anticipation of more state water resource plans coming into effect across the Murray–Darling Basin."

The lower Murrumbidgee metering review can be found on the MDBA website.


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