The Snowy River originates on the slopes of Mount Kosciuszko. It drains the eastern slopes of the Snowy Mountains in NSW before flowing through the Snowy River National Park in Victoria and emptying into Bass Strait.
There are four major dams and multiple diversion weirs in the upper Snowy River catchment that divert water to the Murrumbidgee and River Murray valleys. Downstream, the hydrological effects of the Snowy Scheme are substantial, but are partly alleviated by the contribution of flows from tributaries (such as the Delegate River in NSW and the Buchan River in Victoria).
The Victorian, NSW and Commonwealth governments have recovered water to help restore damage done by decades of limited flow. Victorian environmental water available for use in the Snowy system is held in the Murray, Goulburn and Loddon systems. This water is made available for environmental flows in the Snowy River via a substitution method, whereby Victorian environmental water replaces water that was earmarked for transfer from the Snowy to Victoria to support irrigation needs.