Update on flood events in northwest NSW

Media release | 21 December 2020

The Bureau of Meteorology advises that widespread rainfall, including possible heavy localised falls, is forecast across much of inland northern NSW river valleys over the next 12-18 hours.

If these forecasts eventuate, there could be good flows into wetlands and flows in some parts of the upper Barwon-Darling are also possible.

WaterNSW advises that while the full impact on dam storages will become clearer over the next 48 hours, good inflows are possible into Keepit, Chaffey and Copeton dams.

In both the Namoi and Gwydir valleys overland flows and significant river rises are possible.

The Department continues to monitor the situation but at this stage, embargoes are not required to meet critical human or environmental water needs within or downstream of either the Gwydir or Namoi Valleys.

Due to the disallowance of the government’s regulation amendment, which temporarily exempted certain floodplain works from licensing requirements, the lawfulness of floodplain harvesting once again became unclear. Any landholder considering floodplain harvesting during this event may wish to seek their own legal counsel.

For clarity, this is advice, it is not a directive. The context of this advice is that the legality of floodplain harvesting prior to licences and approvals being established is uncertain. This has been communicated since the disallowance of the Government's temporary exemption for floodplain harvesting by the NSW Upper House on 22 September 2020. The NSW Government remains fully committed to licensing floodplain harvesting in the northern Basin by 1 July 2021.

For information on the status of the Water Management (General) Amendment (Exemptions for Floodplain Harvesting) Regulation 2020 visit the FAQs webpage.