In 2018–19 dry and hot conditions continued in the Namoi catchment. The lowest inflows on record resulted in one of the worst droughts in documented history. There was a zero per cent available water determination for general security licences in the lower Namoi, with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) retaining a small volume of held water for the environment as carryover.
Keepit Dam fell below 1% of its storage capacity in December 2018, resulting in cease-to-flow conditions along the length of the Namoi River from Keepit Dam to Walgett.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Environment, Energy and Science (DPIE–EES) does not hold water entitlements in the Namoi catchment. We work with the CEWH to determine the most effective use of available water.
The Peel catchment also experienced record low inflows during 2018–19. Although 1900 megalitres of environmental contingency allowance and 477 megaltires of general security water was available for the environment, ecological water requirements were met by rain-fed tributary flows late in 2018. The DPIE–EES Water for the Environment Team subsequently advised against the use of the available environmental water.