Environmental issues


Water for the environment

four straw necked ibises sitting on a nest in a wetland with another ibis at the top left

Nesting straw-necked Ibis in the Lower Gingham wetlands. Photo: Joshua Smith.

Latest news

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has prepared NSW Annual Environmental Watering Plans for the 2014-15 water year. The plans for the five major regulated valleys are based on advice from the Environmental Water Advisory Group in each valley. Summaries of environmental watering priorities for each valley are now available on this website. To find out more, follow the links to each valley located in our “Managing environmental water” section below.

Find out how governments and the community are working together to deliver water to our environment. View stories, photos and videos on environmental watering events.

Water for the Environment News and Environmental water use in NSW: Outcomes 2013-14 provide information on environmental water activities and events across NSW.

Why do we need water for the environment?

The NSW Government recognises that water is essential to the environment, the economy and the social structures which rely on these, and is committed to the equitable and productive use of water resources. NSW environmental water management is improving environmental outcomes for rivers and wetlands while contributing to regional, social and economic objectives.

Managing environmental water

The Office of Environment and Heritage manages both environmental water allowances (established under water sharing plans) and NSW Environmental Water Holdings. OEH also delivers environmental water held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and non-government organisations. OEH undertakes this role within a broader government framework for the management of water resources in NSW and as agreed to by the Land and Water Advisory Panel.

OEH activity is focused in five valleys where there are significant wetlands along with substantial environmental water allocations and NSW Environmental Water Holdings:

Opportunities for environmental watering at target sites across the state are considered in the context of the availability of environmental water and the likely ecological response to water at any given time. The plans outline the priorities for how environmental water may be used in the coming year, depending on climatic factors and water availability. 

Planning framework for environmental water

A range of plans have been developed to support the management of environmental water.

Support for managing environmental water

OEH uses a variety of tools to support its decision-making in the management of environmental water, including expert advice from research organisations, Environmental Water Advisory Groups and other government agencies, such as:

Environmental Water Advisory Groups play an important role in providing the NSW Government with advice on environmental water management activities and provide a unique forum for drawing on expert knowledge, including local knowledge and experience

OEH, and other agencies, undertake a range of projects to enhance the benefits of environmental watering, including infrastructure works to improve environmental water delivery and investigations to support adaptive management of environmental water.

Reporting on environmental water use

Environmental water management activities and outcomes for 2013-14 are reported in Environmental water use in NSW: Outcomes 2013-14.



Page last updated: 14 January 2015