Draft strategy to secure the North Coast's water future

Media release | 23 May 2022

The Department of Planning and Environment today released the second-round draft Regional Water Strategy for the North Coast and is calling on the community to have its say on the shortlisted options.

Executive Director of Water Strategy and Policy, Kaia Hodge said the second draft of the strategy has been prepared after extensive consultation and feedback from the community.

“After engaging with residents, businesses, stakeholder groups, Aboriginal communities and councils in 2021, we’ve shortlisted the best options that will deliver a safer, more secure, and resilient water supply for the North Coast over the next two decades and beyond,” Ms Hodge said.

“We need to plan now to support our growing and thriving cities and towns as we face a drier and more variable climate along with more extreme weather events. The way we use water must also be sustainable and support a healthier environment.

“That means taking a holistic approach using the best mix of water solutions for our communities, industries and environment, and taking the entire region into account from river source to sea.”

This strategy, alongside 11 other regional and two metropolitan strategies across the state, has been developed using the best and latest scientific evidence to ensure we can understand and mitigate risks even in the most extreme climactic circumstances.

“For communities across the North Coast, the devastating recent drought followed by catastrophic bushfires and extensive flooding are stark reminders of the type of extreme events which could increasingly play out in the future,” Ms Hodge said.

“We’ve thoroughly assessed the North Coast’s water-related challenges and narrowed down the solutions that will have the best outcomes for the community.”

These include delivering a river recovery program, improving fish passage, better protecting low flows in rivers, delivering cultural outcomes for Aboriginal people and supporting Aboriginal business opportunities, boosting recycled water programs and many others.

“There's no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to managing water in our regions, and I recognise the size of the North Coast region means its opportunities and challenges are diverse. I encourage all residents across the North Coast to get involved and have their say to help us finalise the strategy,” Ms Hodge said.

“Water is for everyone, and we are ensuring our water management policies support a smarter water future for the North Coast and the rest of NSW.”

The second-round draft strategy will be on display from 23 May to 19 June and stakeholders and the wider community will have the opportunity to attend a webinar or face-to-face consultation sessions and provide their feedback.

These in-person general information meetings and Aboriginal engagement sessions will take place in a range of North Coast locations during the exhibition period.

For more information and to register your attendance, visit: www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/north-coast-regional-water-strategy

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