Floodplain Harvesting regulations 'What We Heard' reports released

Media release | 1 May 2021

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has finalised consultation on floodplain harvesting regulations that will enable the rollout of the NSW Government’s first-ever floodplain harvesting licensing and measurement scheme.

Floodplain harvesting is the last major form of water take to be licensed in the Murray-Darling Basin, and licensing in NSW will mean significant benefits for water users and the environment.

These regulations allow licences to be issued, measurement requirements to be enforced and a state-wide exemption for tailwater drains to be established.

The department welcomed public feedback on four proposed regulations from 23 November to 20 December last year and received 236 submissions. any of these supported the new rules and focused on the improved clarity, certainty and transparency they will bring.

In response to stakeholder feedback, the NSW Government has decided not to proceed with the proposed temporary exemption for floodplain harvesting and instead focus on licensing and measurement.

Submissions also showed there continues to be concern about how floodplain harvesting in the northern Murray-Darling Basin affects downstream systems.

We have listened to this feedback and it is important to the department. Licensing floodplain harvesting will benefit downstream users – restricting the amount of water harvested from floodplains to legal limits, will be return water to floodplains and rivers, which will improve flows and environmental outcomes.

The department continues to meet and broadly engage with the public and all stakeholders, seeking their input on the proposed water sharing rules for floodplain harvesting licences.

Implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy is continuing to be supported by the independent peer review of all modelling and technical assessments before they are publicly released.

View the ‘What We Heard’ reports.

View a summary of the environmental outcomes from licensing.