Review and Amendment of the Mersey Water Management Plan

The current Mersey Water Mana​gement Plan was adopted in 2005.

  Mersey Water Management Plan   (1Mb)

The Plan sets out the framework for managing the water resources in the Mersey Water Management Plan Area, in accordance with the Water Management Act 1999, to ensure that water resources in the Plan area are managed to optimise its benefits for a range of users, including the community, the environment and commercial users.​

DPIPWE has commenced a review of the Water Management Plan so that we manage water better and plan for the future.

Review and Amendment Process

The review and amendment of the Plan is being undertaken according to Section 34 of the Water Management Act 1999.

Information on the process to review and amend the Plan is provided in the Water Management Planning Guiding Principles for the Development of Statutory Water Management Plans and involves statutory requirements for public consultation:

  Guiding Principles for the development of statutory water management plans in Tasmania   (1Mb)

The review of the Plan will be conducted in consultation with the key stakeholders through the Mersey Water Management Plan Consultative Group.

The Consultative Group has been re-established to provide DPIPWE with a balanced range of views, local knowledge, advice and feedback from key stakeholders on matters relating to the review and amendment of the Plan. 

The Consultative Group will have preliminary input to support the DPIPWE to draft amendments to the Plan (prior to their release for formal public feedback).  Stakeholder input through the plan drafting and feedback stages will support development of a Plan that best meet the needs of local water users and recognise water resource complexities for the area.​

The Consultative Group consists of the following members and stakeholder groups.

​​Member
Organisation
Marie Egerrup
Hydro Tasmania
Rob FreemanInland Fisheries Service
Brett Perkins
​Mersey Irrigators Group
​​Iona Flett
​​Cradle Coast Authority NRM
​David Skipper
​Tasmanian Irrigation
​Nathan Richardson
​Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association
​Nick Cramp
​Tributary water licence holder
TBA
​Anglers Alliance Tasmania
​David Addison
​Tasmanian Agricultural Productivity Group
​​John Borojevic​Paddle Tasmania

Trial of changes to Water Management in the Mersey River catchment (November 2020 to April 2022)

There have been four meetings of the Mersey River Water Management Plan Review Consultative Group. At the third meeting in early September 2020, Hydro Tasmania outlined a proposal to trial a constant environmental release of 160 ML/day from Lake Parangana for the 2020/21 irrigation season.

The key driver for the trial comes from Hydro Tasmania undertaking strategic analysis and consideration of a range of operational changes and improvements to releases from Lake Parangana. DPIPWE liaised closely with Hydro Tasmania, the Mersey Irrigators Group and Tasmanian Irrigation to refine the details of the trial.

Initially the trial was proposed for the period November 2020 to April 2021, however due to higher than average rainfall, the trial has been further extended to collect information for the period from September 2021 to April 2022.

Details of the trial are outlined in the following document: 

  Trial of changes to Water Management in the Mersey River catchment from November 2020 to April 2021   (202Kb)

This will be used for the continuation of the trial from September 2021 to April 2022.

The key elements of the trial and changed water management arrangements are:

  1. A constant environmental release of 160 ML/day from Lake Parangana by Hydro Tasmania
    and measurement of the flow release at the dam outlet (as opposed to the Liena gauge) for a period of 12 months.  

  2. A revised approach to applying the cease-to-take when inflows to Lake Parangana fall below 173 ML/day as measured at the Arm River stream flow gauging station.

  3. A four-stage restriction protocol above the cease-to-take for water licence holders who use water for commercial purposes. The trial four-stage restriction protocol was introduced from 1 November 2020 to 20 April 2021 and will be implemented again from 1 November 2021 to 30 April 2022.

The aim of the trial is to consider specific water management arrangements that potentially deliver improved: hydro-electricity generation; irrigation development and water access; and environmental and social benefits during low flow periods. The learnings from the trial will enhance water management planning outcomes.

The 2020/2021 trial targeted collection of water use and flow information to improve understanding of the effectiveness of the new flow management arrangements in the summer period.

The 2021/2022 trial will continue to collect water use information; however, a smaller, more targeted group of water users in areas of key interest will be asked to collect information for the trial. These licensees will be contacted by the Department.

DPIPWE will be seeking stakeholder feedback towards the end of the summer irrigation season as part of its monitoring and evaluation of the trial. The findings from the trial and how it has worked for all parties will feed into the Mersey Water Management Plan review. 


Further information

For further information, please contact a member of the Consultative Group that best represents your interests. 

To be put in touch with a representative on the Consultative Group please contact:

Nerida Bleakley
Phone: 0439 636 256
Email: Nerida.Bleakley@dpipwe.tas.gov.au.


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