Recently published audits

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The Commission has recently published audits of the following plans:

Audit of coastal unregulated and alluvial water sharing plans

The Commission has audited the implementation of coastal unregulated and alluvial water sharing plans.

The Commission considers that the provisions of the WSPs have not been given full effect in accordance with the Act. The audit conclusion is based on the procedures performed and the evidence obtained.

The Commission found the following positives including:

  • water access licences (WAL) and supply work approvals were generally assessed and processed in accordance with legislative requirements
  • WAL management tools and processes are generally in place to manage water access licences
  • dealings are being undertaken in accordance with legislative requirements
  • mandatory conditions are generally translated accurately to conditions for WALs and supply work approvals
  • available water determinations (AWDs) were made and generally applied to licences in accordance with legislative requirements (with some exceptions in the first year).

However, some exceptions were found, and the Commission recommends:

DPIE-Water to:

  • lead the assessment and monitoring of performance indicators
  • ensure that the two river gauging stations at Gara River- Willow Glen gauge (206035) and downstream Malpas Dam gauge (206039)- are appropriate to measure low flows and to be used as flow reference points to enable real time management of environmental releases set out in clause 28 in the Macleay Plan
  • establish a process to undertake compliance assessment of extraction against sustainable limits and use this to inform AWD calculations
  • review mandatory conditions coding and WaterNSW and NRAR application of conditions processes to ensure mandatory conditions in approvals and WALs are applied as relevant going forward
  • formalise a process to duly consider non-mandatory amendments included in the plans.

WaterNSW to:

  • share rating change information with Armidale Council for the two river gauges at Gara River- Willow Glen gauge (206035) and downstream Malpas Dam gauge (206039) to ensure the automatic release valve programming is reflective of Willow Glen (206039) gauge flows to meet requirements of clause 28 in the Macleay Plan
  • obtain reliable extraction data for individual WALs and use it to ensure maximum allowable take is not exceeded
  • complete account configuration for relevant water sources.

NRAR to:

  • monitor and manage performance to ensure requirements in Clause 28 in the Macleay Plan are met.

The full recommendations and suggested actions for the relevant agencies are available in the audit report.

Audit of Hunter regulated river water sharing plan

The Commission has audited the Water Sharing Plan for the Hunter Regulated River Water Source 2016.

The Commission considers that the provisions of the WSPs have not been given full effect in accordance with the Act. The audit conclusion is based on the procedures performed and the evidence obtained.

The Commission has made the recommendations as set out below.

Two key issues that should be urgently addressed are:

  • The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) to notify WaterNSW of mandatory conditions relating to its Statement of Approval (20WA204300) that reflect Plan requirements.
  • DPIE-Water to put in place a robust process to demonstrate Clause 30 can be met prior to making its next AWD announcement.

The Commission makes further recommendations to address other identified gaps as set out below.

DPIE-Water to:

  • lead the assessment and monitoring of performance indicators
  • establish a process to undertake compliance assessment of extraction against sustainable limits and use this to inform AWD calculations
  • finalise the draft Water Allocation Summary Manual and make it publicly available
  • ensure the high flow tally is being kept and maintained
  • review mandatory conditions coding and WaterNSW and NRAR application of conditions processes to ensure minimum requirements for installation of supply work approvals are in place to protect the environment
  • ensure roles, responsibilities and protocols are clearly outlined for making uncontrolled flow announcements (including supplementary access) including during the event of an Environmental Water Allowance release
  • formalise a process to duly consider non-mandatory amendments included in the plans.

WaterNSW to:

  • operate the river to meet environmental targets
  • keep and maintain the high flow tally
  • manage periods of uncontrolled flows (and supplementary access) in accordance with the Plan.

NRAR to:

  • ensure WaterNSW is notified of updated work approval conditions for the operation of Glennies Creek and Glenbawn Dam that reflect the Plan provisions and update compliance processes to ensure compliance is managed in accordance with these conditions.

The full recommendations and suggested actions for the relevant agencies are available in the audit report.