Consultation on proposed amendments to cap factors for water recovery accounting in NSW

Joint media release | 1 June 2018

The NSW Department of Industry – Water has today invited water entitlement holders and other stakeholders to provide feedback on proposed amendments to long-term diversion limit equivalence factors for NSW (also known as cap factors), to replace those originally adopted in 2011.

Cap factors are a water accounting tool used to measure how much water has been recovered for the environment under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan in actual terms — not just on paper.

Essentially, they ensure the water recovered for the environment is 'real' water, and the release of the proposed amendments represents an important step towards the development of final water resource plans by 2019.

In 2015, all Basin Ministers agreed that the 2011 cap factors should be updated before new limits on water take became legally binding in mid-2019, to take into account the most accurate and up-to-date information, and ensure a consistent approach across the Basin.

The revision to the factors will draw on the latest available information to better reflect the actual average use of entitlements.

These factors will enable different entitlement classes to be counted on equal terms, and provide a more accurate measure of how much water each entitlement class actually returns to the environment if it is recovered for the environment.

In the proposed amendment to the cap factors, the NSW Department of Industry – Water and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority have considered the best available information, including historic water use patterns, over 100 years of climate data, and trade information.

The proposed amended cap factors are now available for public consultation, and the Department would like to hear from any interested stakeholders with new information or evidence that could be considered in the finalisation of the cap factors.

These cap factors do not have any impact on water entitlements or allocation, and are different from entitlement reliability—rather they provide a consistent accounting system for measuring water recovery across the Basin.

For more information or to make a submission, please refer to the 'Have your say' website. Submissions will be accepted until 17 July 2018.

For further information about DoI Water Consultation visit: