Bega Area Water Sharing Plan open for feedback

Media release | 13 July 2022

Residents, water users and stakeholders are invited to have their say on the draft Water Sharing Plan for the Bega region, a roadmap ensuring water is being managed fairly and equitably for local communities, industry, and the environment over the next decade.

Executive Director of Water Planning, Giselle Howard, said the Water Sharing Plan for Bega River Area Regulated, Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2023 is a new consolidated plan that brings together current plans for the Bega-Brogo and Murrah-Wallaga areas.

“These regions share a lot of similarities – including common communities, local government and industries like dairy farming, cattle grazing, forestry and aquaculture,” Ms Howard said.

“It makes sense to combine the plans and move forward with water management in a unified way to support stakeholders across the entire area.

“We want to hear from you. Water sharing plans are valid for 10 years once they’re finalised, so it's important the community has the opportunity to provide feedback.

“The Bega region was hit exceptionally hard by the recent drought, and off the back of that tough period came the devastating summer bushfires, only to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and now the extreme wet weather in the first half of the year.

“As the region grows and there’s more demand on water resources than ever before, we must urgently consider the water needs of communities, businesses, and the environment in wet and dry times by planning for the future. This is especially true as our climate changes.”

The draft Bega area plan continues to protect basic landholder rights, cultural needs, and water for the environment, and sets limits on how much water can be taken.

It also outlines the continued requirement for all licensed works in the Murrah-Wallaga area to have a meter, ensuring every drop of licensed water is measured and accounted for.

Ms Howard said the draft plan also proposes changed access rules in Narira Creek, Dry River, Murrah River, Bermagui River and the Upper Bega/Bemboka Rivers, to better balance the needs of water users and the environment.

“We want to hear from the public and stakeholders about the potential impacts and benefits to help us finalise a plan that will work for everyone,” Ms Howard said.

Feedback can be submitted until 21 August 2022. Face-to-face information sessions will be held in Bega and Cobargo in late July, followed by an online webinar in early August.

Every submission will be considered carefully before the final water sharing plan comes into effect on or before 1 July 2023.

To read the draft water sharing plan and register your interest for the information sessions, visit: dpie.nsw.gov.au/bega-river-wsp

Farmland in Bega, NSW.Have your say on the draft Bega River Area water sharing plan.