We are one of 13 CMAs established under the Catchment Management Authorities Act 2003, which came into force on 23 January 2004 across NSW under broad statewide reforms. Together, we are making a difference, and with continuing partnerships with the Federal, State and local Governments, we are progressing with innovative and successful Natural Resource Management (NRM) initiatives to conserve our diverse landscape for future generations.
Located in Central Western New South Wales extending westwards from the Great Dividing Range, the Lachlan Catchment is flanked by the Macquarie and Bogan Catchments to the north, the Darling to the west, the Murrumbidgee to the south, and the Sydney/Shoalhaven Basin to the east. It is part of the Murray-Darling Basin and represents 8% of the basin system. The Lachlan Catchment covers an area of approximately 84,700 km2 and has a population of over 100,000 people.
The Lachlan River which dissects the catchment has its headwaters on the Breadalbane Plain near Goulburn and the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range flowing west to the plains of the Riverina. Major tributaries of the Lachlan include the Abercrombie, Boorowa, Belubula, Crookwell Rivers and Mandagery Creek. Further west, in the Hillston area, the Lachlan evolves into a series of effluent streams that support large areas of ephemeral wetlands, terminating in the Great Cumbung Swamp near Oxley, 1,450 river kilometres to the west.
Wyangala Dam, which has a capacity of 1,220,000 megalitres, is the major water storage on the Lachlan River and is located at the junction of the Lachlan and Abercrombie Rivers approximately 50 km upstream of Cowra. It is used to regulate supply of water to the downstream irrigation industry. Other important water storages include Carcoar Dam, Lake Cargelligo and Lake Brewster.
Industry in the Lachlan Catchment is predominately agriculture with dryland cereal production and grazing enterprises the main industries. Other major enterprises include wool and beef production, horticulture, dairy, feedlots, piggeries and viticulture as well as a significant irrigation industry producing lucerne and other irrigated crops. Whilst the Lachlan Catchment is only 10% of NSW, it is estimated to produce 14% of the States agricultural production. Mining, tourism, manufacturing, timber production, food processing and fishing are also important industries.
The Lachlan Catchment falls predominantly within the Wiradjuri Aboriginal Nation. The other Aboriginal nations located in the catchment include Ngunawal, Wongaibon, Yitha Yitha, Dharug, Madi Madi, Gundungurra and Barindji. We recognises the connection Aboriginal people have with the landscape including land, water, vegetation and biodiversity (habitat) and endeavour to have Aboriginal communities contribute to natural resource management (NRM) planning for the catchment. Rivers are traditionally important routes for Aboriginal people, providing food, water and shelter. There are many heritage sites recorded in the catchment including scar trees, campsites, burial sites, carved trees and quarry sites along the river between Wyangala and Oxley. In addition to the Lachlan River and its tributaries, the Lachlan Catchment has several wetlands that are important to Aboriginal people. Lake Cowal, the Booligal wetlands and the Great Cumbung Swamp are important cultural sites for Aboriginal communities. These valuable cultural heritage assets within the catchment increase the importance of sensitive NRM.
Some 60 historic sites, 30 natural sites and 5 aboriginal sites are listed on the Register of the National Estate and 9 wetlands including Lake Cowal, the Booligal Wetlands and the Great Cumbung Swamp have been included in the Directory of Important Floodplain Wetlands.