The Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme has proved tremendously successful and is widely (and rightly) supported by the community that contributed to its creation.
Recent performance of the scheme
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) administers the scheme with guidance from an operations committee with representatives of government, industry and the community. Each year the EPA assesses the performance of the scheme and the latest reports are available for download:
Longer term scheme performance
While the scheme operates to manage salinity levels in the river as a result of industry discharge, occasional exceedences still occur, caused by diffuse sources of saline runoff. New mines can readily be granted discharge licences, with significant economic and employment benefits for the valley.
However since the scheme started, river salinity has more consistently been below the salinity target.
These improvements have occurred despite a drier-than-average weather pattern since the scheme began. The graph below shows that in previous dry spells (early 1980s and around the turn of the decade) salinity levels were very high. These have not been repeated during the time the scheme has been in operation (which has been similarly dry).
Page last updated: 10 December 2015