Snowy River gets biggest flow for 40 years

By AAP with AG Staff 5 November 2010
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Billions of litres are flowing into the Snowy River again after a government agreement to return missing water.

BILLIONS OF LITRES OF water have begun cascading down the mighty Snowy River once more – the biggest flow the parched system has seen in more than 40 years.

Victorian Premier John Brumby and Water Minister Tim Holding travelled to Jindabyne, in southeastern NSW, on Thursday to witness water returning to the Snowy. More than 17 billion litres of water is flowing from the Jindabyne Dam following an agreement between the Victorian and NSW State governments and the Federal Government to repay the Snowy “water debt” two years early.

The release, three weeks before Victoria’s election, fulfils Labor’s 1999 promise to return environmental flows to the river. Under the joint agreement, the Federal Government will compensate Snowy Hydro with $13.7 million for water released as environmental flows.


More releases to come

The water started spilling from Jindabyne Dam on Tuesday and will continue for another nine days. It cancels out the “water debt” accumulated by the two states during the drought-ridden last decade, after an agreement to return water to the Snowy was signed but before water saving projects were in place.

Another 16 billion litres of water will be released in April 2011, taking total river flows for the financial year to 70 billion litres.

The Victorian Premier said the government was on track to return the Snowy flows to 21 per cent by 2012. “Flows in the legendary Snowy River are finally returning to levels that made it one of Australia’s most iconic rivers,” he says. “The return of this water is a great result for the environment and a great result for Snowy communities that have fought for so long and passionately to get their Snowy River back.”