Snowy Hydro Limited (SHL), the operator of the Snowy Hydro-electric Scheme, was issued with a package of agreements, licences and other regulatory instruments in preparation for corporatisation in 2002. One component of this package was the Snowy Water Licence issued on 30 May 2002 under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 (NSW).

Snowy Water Licence

The Snowy Water Licence defines SHL's water rights and obligations and strikes a balance between the competing demands for water for hydro-electricity generation and the environment. The licence allows SHL to collect, divert, store, and release water by and from the works of the Snowy Scheme for the 75 year term of the licence. The licence also defines the rules for releases into the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers and imposes environmental flow release obligations on SHL for the benefit of the Snowy River and other montane rivers (the rivers of the Snowy mountains). The current Snowy Water Licence can be accessed from the link below.

Reviews of licence

The licence is subject to mandatory reviews under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 (the Act), initially after five years and then at intervals of 10 years. This follows on from the five year review completed in 2009. The first 10 year mandatory review of the licence is now due.

The review will focus on SHL's obligations under the Licence, which fall into three broad categories: increased flow requirements, water release requirements, and administrative obligations. It will also consider SHL’s performance in meeting the conditions of the licence, and whether there are any anomalies or issues with the licence that need to be addressed.

A copy of the relevant documentation is available for inspection online below and in person at:

A hard copy of the documentation can be posted upon request.


The Department of Industry–Water (the department) invited public submissions on the 10-year review between 28 June 2017 and 13 October 2017. Information briefings were held in Sydney and Melbourne during the submission period. The review received 24 submissions from a range of stakeholders including SHL, government agencies, environmental groups, community groups and individuals.

Read copies of the submissions.

Review update

The department is currently reviewing the submissions and preparing a draft report on the 10-year review for consultation in early 2018. Further details on consultation on the draft report will be advertised closer to its release.

More information

For any further enquiries, please contact