Environmental Water Advisory Groups

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) works closely with the community to deliver water for the environment to priority sites across the state.

Environmental Water Advisory Groups (EWAGs) draw on the expertise and experience of community members to help inform the work of OEH.

Advisory groups may include water managers, recreational fishers, landholders, Aboriginal groups, independent scientists, local government representatives and a variety of partner agencies.

The groups meet regularly to discuss proposed or upcoming watering events, any issues or concerns, the results of watering events and future opportunities.

In NSW, water for the environment is targeted within five main catchments:

  • Gwydir
  • Macquarie
  • Lachlan
  • Murrumbidgee
  • Murray and Lower Darling.

Environmental Water Advisory Groups (EWAGs) have been established in each catchment including:

The aim of each environmental water advisory group is to bring together a range of knowledge and experience to advise on both planned and held environmental water.

Before the start of each water year (July to June), each group provides advice on developing an annual watering plan. These plans consider recent environmental watering history and forecast likely water management actions for the next water year at the valley scale, under different climatic scenarios.

They aim to anticipate short-term opportunities and identify how to implement various watering actions in order to meet identified environmental objectives.

EWAGs must ensure that the advice and reports they produce are consistent with the relevant water sharing plan for their regulated water source.

Working together

Decisions about water for the environment are made in collaboration with a range of partners including industry, conservation representatives, government, research institutions, and regional communities. OEH works closely with the following government agencies:

  • Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder which also manages water for the environment
  • NSW Local Land Service, responsible for natural resource management
  • Department of Primary Industries, responsible for water planning and policy
  • Murray Darling Basin Authority, responsible for Basin-wide planning of water resources.

The NSW Government is committed to co-operative management of water for the environment as documented here Cooperative management of environmental water to improve river and wetland health in NSW (PDF 71KB).