Current water holdings

The Department of Planning and Environment is responsible for the delivery of all water for the environment in NSW. This includes water held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

The table below summarises current NSW 'held' water for the environment.

Note: this does not include ‘planned’ water for the environment which is allocated under Water Sharing Plans.

Cumulative water for the environment holdings (‘held’) recovered to June 30 2022 (megalitres)

Valley High Security General Security Supplementary Unregulated Aquifer Total
The Living Murray (TLM)
Murrumbidgee 85,011.0   85,011.0 
Murray 5,123.5 83,006.0 100,000.0 12,965.0 201,094.5 
Darling 500.0 47,800.0 250,000.0 298,300.0
Total 5,623.5 215,817.0 350,000.0 12,965.0 584,405.5
Department of Planning and Environment (DPE)
Gwydir 1,249.0 17,092.0 3,140.5 21,481.5
Macquarie 48,419.0 1,451.5 2,916.0 52,786.5
Lachlan 1,795.0 37,595.0 39,390.0
Murrumbidgee 31,424.0 6,700.0 9,948.0 1,857.0 49,929.0
Lowbidgee 148,087.0 148,087.0
Murray 2,027.0 30,157.0 32,184.0
Barwon-Darling 1,730.0 1,730.0 
Total 5,071.0 164,687.0 159,379.0 14,594.0 1,857.0 345,588.0


  • These figures have been rounded up, and the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) considers them to be accurate at the time of printing.
  • This table is an operational record, so some minor adjustments may need to be incorporated when the data is verified by audit.
  • The Living Murray licences are listed separately as they are held under a joint venture arrangement with parties to the Murray Darling Basin Agreement.

The NSW Government purchased water for the environment at market rates through existing water markets.  

Previous use of water for the environment

The graph below identifies the total use of water for the environment in New South Wales over time.

Annual volume of water for the environment delivered to NSW targets from Environmental Contingency Allowances, the Living Murray Program, licences purchased by the NSW Government

Annual volumes of water delivered to NSW targets from the Living Murray Program licences purchased by the NSW Government, including planned water (NSW) and licences purchased by Commonwealth Government (CEWH)