Riverina Aboriginal cultural water allocation - Opportunity to register interest to access

Riverina Aboriginal communities are invited to express their interest in water flows for Aboriginal cultural uses.

Each year Riverina Local Land Services has access to 2,150 ML of share component of Murrumbidgee Valley high-security water.

This water allocation is there to meet the unique purposes of the Traditional Owners of the Murrumbidgee catchment. Aboriginal communities have the opportunity to apply to use some or all of the water for cultural purposes.

It cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Read more about the allocation and register your interest. PDF, 381.75 KB

Where can the water be used?

The Aboriginal cultural water allocation can potentially be used in areas where stored water can be supplied from Burrinjuck and Blowering Dams. This includes the following areas:

  • Murrumbidgee River below Burrinjuck Dam
  • Tumut River below Blowering Dam
  • regulated creeks west of Collingullie such as Beavers Creek, Old Man Creek and Bundidgerry Creek
  • upper parts of Yanco Creek and Columbo Creek (south of Narrandera)
  • irrigation areas around Leeton, Griffith, Coleambally and Hay.

See map on page 3 of the factsheet. PDF, 381.75 KB

What you need to apply

Your proposed water extraction point must have an existing pump, or be able to be delivered via gravity (eg in the large irrigation areas).

The pump or diversion point must be licenced with WaterNSW (ie have a Works Approval) and have an existing meter on it.

Small pumps such as those used for stock or domestic use are not eligible.

Roles of applicants and Local Land Services

We (Local Land Services) will coordinate the expression of interest (EOI) process in conjunction with the Riverina Local Land Services Aboriginal Advisory group.

We can also assist in guiding you through the WaterNSW Works Approval and EOI processes if required.

The applicant will need to arrange all aspects of on-ground delivery. This may include arranging permission from landholders (eg to flood a particular wetland), supplying the pumping infrastructure or paying for pumping costs.

How to apply

We’re inviting Aboriginal community groups or individuals to let us know if they are interested in accessing cultural water through the cultural access licence. Please consider the following:

Where could water flows be used for cultural purposes in future years? It must have a cultural heritage benefit.

The owner of the land must consent in advance to the possible watering event. The owner also must agree to the use of their private pump. This must be negotiated by the community group, not Local Land Services.

The cost to pump or divert the water must be agreed between the landowner and the community group. Local Land Services only provides access to the water entitlement, not the pumping costs.

If you can reach an agreement in principle with the landholder, then please consider registering your interest in gaining access to the water allocation in future years.

This is a two-step process.

Step 1 - Submit an expression of interest to register your pumping point

To start the application process, Aboriginal community groups or individuals need to send us an expression of interest to register the nominated pumping point by midnight Sunday 8 May 2022.

This needs to include the details of the agreement with the landholder/pump owner (Attachment 1). Both the community group and landholder must sign this agreement in advance.

You also need to nominate the WaterNSW Works Approval of the pumping point and agree for us to register the pumping point on our cultural access licence.

After you have let us know these details, we will then contact you and all other applicants each year, asking if you want to send an expression of interest to access and use some or all of the water.

Step 2: Submit an expression of interest to access the water (each year)

Each year (usually around June/July) we will ask for expressions of interest to access the annual water allocation.

When this opens, you will need to provide details on:

  • how much water you are applying for?
  • where it will be used?
  • when it will be used?
  • what are the specific cultural benefits?
  • how does this proposal fit with recent watering events (or lack of events)?

You will also need to agree for us to monitor and record the water use. This may include onsite visits, photographs and video during the watering event.

Your expression of interest and any others will then be assessed by our staff. We will let you know the result.

Read more about the program and register your interest.

Further Information

Greg Packer, Senior Land Services Officer (Aboriginal Communities)  
P: 6923 6347 M: 0427 262470
E: gregory.packer@lls.nsw.gov.au

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