Flood works remediation to deliver healthier floodplains

Media release | 30 August 2022

The NSW Government is leading the charge in returning water to floodplains, wetlands, rivers and creeks by bringing unapproved flood works into compliance across the northern Basin.

Executive Director of Water Planning for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Giselle Howard, said the Improving Floodplain Connections Program will complement existing floodplain harvesting licensing and measurement regulations by improving floodplain connectivity in areas where unapproved flood works – some up to 30 years old – are impeding natural flows.

“We’re committed to licensing and regulating floodplain harvesting and we’re serious about ensuring unapproved flood works become compliant,” Ms Howard said.

"We're targeting high-priority structures that either need to be removed or modified to ensure they’re following the rules.

“This means improved flows over floodplains and improved connectivity, resulting in a healthier natural environment and better outcomes for downstream water users.

“When it comes to floodplain management, we’re full steam ahead to deliver outcomes that are decades overdue. This is an accelerated program that will allow us to achieve by 2024 what would have taken more than 15 years to realise.”

The program is delivered in partnership with the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) and various NSW agencies and will target a range of unapproved flood works including levees, embankments, roads, dams and channels.

Ms Howard said the program will first roll out across the Border Rivers, with NRAR field officers having commenced site visits there in July.

“The program will look at 42 structures across 13 priority areas in the Border Rivers in this first round,” Ms Howard said.

The NSW Government will help landholders with design and assessment, but landholders will be responsible for the on-ground removal or modification.

The priority areas across the Border Rivers were selected after assessment of hydraulic, ecological, and cultural impacts. More sites will be chosen and field inspections will be carried out later this year and next year across the Gwydir, Macquarie, Barwon-Darling, and Namoi valleys.

The program is a joint initiative between the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, NRAR, WaterNSW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries thanks to $10.2 million from the Commonwealth Government’s Sustainable Rural Water Use Fund, and $1.08 million from the NSW Government.

It will be completed by mid-2024. For more information, visit: improving floodplain connections.

Ibis on the wing.Returning water to floodplains, wetlands, rivers and creeks to compliance across the northern Basin.