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MRFF are food and fibre producers contributing to the economic, social and environmental health of the Macquarie Valley.

The Macquarie Valley

Macquarie River Food and Fibre (MRFF)

  • is an industry body representing water licence holders who are surface water and groundwater users in the Macquarie Valley Catchment.
  • is focused on the Macquarie River catchment in Central West NSW.
  • supports over 500 water entitlement licence holders and their communities.

Snapshot of the Macquarie River

Water storage: Lake Burrendong (capacity 1,190,000 megalitres), Windamere Dam (capacity 368,120 megalitres) 

River length: 960 kms

Towns: Bathurst, Wellington, Dubbo, Narromine, Trangie and Warren

Tributaries: Fish River, Bell River, Little River, Turon River, Cudgegong River, Coolbaggie Creek and Talbragar River

Irrigation schemes: located at Narromine, Buddah Lake, Trangie – Nevertire, Tenandra, Nevertire, and Marthaguy

Users: Horticulture, viticulture plantings, citrus, cotton, dairy farming, livestock, cereals, grains and pulse crops, oilseeds, tourism and recreation.

Macquarie River catchment

Tools and information on water management and water usage for the Macquarie River Valley.

Macquarie Marshes

The Macquarie catchment is home to the iconic Macquarie Marshes – one of the largest remaining semi-permanent wetland systems in inland Australia.  It hosts some of the largest-scale waterbird breeding ever recorded on the continent. 

Frequently asked questions

Total water use in the Macquarie River Valley is capped by a “Sustainable Diversion Limit” (SDL). Within the SDL, Irrigation useage is limited to 28%. Over the last decade or so irrigation useage as a percentage of the total flows has been well below this figure as follows:

  • Environment (including evaporation, transmission losses, Macquarie Marshes flows + held environmental water): 82%
  • General Security Irrigation: 16%
  • Towns: less than 1%
  • High Security Users: 0.6%
  • Livestock + Domestic: less than 0.5%

* Total average inflows: 1,360,000 megalitres.

Source: Department of Industry (Water) 2018

Irrigation is the artificial application of water to land for the purpose of agricultural production. Effective irrigation will influence the entire growth process from seedbed preparation, germination, root growth, nutrient utilisation, plant growth and regrowth, yield and quality.

Water is generally classified into two groups: river or surface water and groundwater. Generally, groundwater is located underground in large aquifers and must be pumped out of the ground after drilling a deep well. Surface water is found in lakes, rivers and streams and is drawn into the public water supply by an intake. Surface water is just what the name implies; it is water found in rivers, lakes or other surface cavities.  Surface water  is mainly used for drinking water and other public uses, irrigation agriculture and even in the process of generating theromelectric power. Groundwater is water contained in or by a subsurface layer of soil or rock. There are many sources recharging the supply of groundwater, including rain that soaks into the ground, rivers that disappear underground and melting snow. Because of the many sources of recharge, groundwater may contain any or all of the contaminants found in surface water as well as the dissolved minerals it picks up underground.

There is a Draft Floodplain Management Plan for the Macquarie Valley Floodplain 2018 (plan) which includes management zones, rules and assessment criteria for granting or amending approvals for flood works within the plan area.

This is due to be finalised by 2021.

For more information…

  • To provide water users with a clear picture of when and how water will be available for extraction for use in their business.
  • To protect the fundamental environmental health and quality of the water source.
  • To ensure the water source is sustainable in the long-term.

All regulated water licence holders are monitored and measured by water meters. Currently, the Macquarie River Valley is progressing to a new national metering system standard which has been modelled on a leading global standard of measurement (AS4747).

For further information on water metering…


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