In addition to electricity production, the other key objective in the design and construction of the Snowy Scheme was to mitigate the effects of drought on irrigated agriculture along the River Murray and Murrumbidgee River.
The Snowy Scheme was designed to make certain minimum water releases into both the River Murray and Murrumbidgee River each year, even through a drought sequence as severe as the December 1936 to July 1946 drought (the design drought sequence).
The water operations of the Snowy Scheme are regulated by the Snowy Water Licence. The Snowy Water Licence is set up to facilitate annual water releases for water users, environmental flows and flexibility for electricity generation.
The regulation of Snowy Mountains Scheme water operations is totally independent of Snowy Hydro the business. The water regulatory arrangements are clearly defined and legally enforceable.
In relation to the water captured by the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the arrangements strike the right balance between the competing needs of electricity generation and provision of National Electricity Market services by the Scheme on the one hand, and the environmental and irrigational interests downstream on the other.
The Licence dictates that Snowy Hydro must make minimum annual water releases to the River Murray and Murumbidgee catchments.
For more information on water flows in NSW rivers, visit the NSW Office of Water website at water.nsw.gov.au
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