New floodplain management plans to be developed for southern NSW Murray Darling Basin
Media release | 8 December 2021
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will soon begin work on replacing floodplain management plans for the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Lachlan valleys.
In response to recommendations made by an independent review of 10 Southern Floodplain Management Plans, the plans will be remade to cover areas of several floodplains made under the 1912 Water Act.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said, under the Healthy Floodplains Project, the department has completed major work in the northern Basin to reform floodplain management and is now focusing on the south.
“Floodplain Management Plans do not deal with floodplain harvesting water take. They deal only with structures on the floodplain and how they are best managed to protect life and property, flood flow connectivity and environmental and cultural assets,” Mrs Pavey said.
“They establish management zones which provide clarity about where flood works can be constructed on a floodplain such as levees, barrages, causeways, cuttings, embankments, building pads and below-ground channels.
“These plans are reviewed every five years to ensure they continue to provide adequate protection for the environment and property.”
In addition to the five-yearly review the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) also completes regular audits of floodplain management plans.
Of the total 11 Floodplain Management Plans reviewed by the NRC, only the Gwydir Floodplain Management Plan was found to be adequate. The 10 southern Floodplain Management Plans had not adequately implemented the water management principles and should be replaced and expanded.
Key issues to be considered by the new floodplain management plans includes:
*Addressing ambiguity in plans that make it more difficult for WaterNSW to implement them and for NRAR to enforce them.
*Aligning plans developed under the Water Act 1912 with the objectives of the Water Management Act 2000, ensuring they include details such as mapped existing works, ecological and cultural assets and information about flooding regimes.
*Ensuring the plans cover whole rural floodplain areas in the southern Murray-Darling Basin to better protect important wetlands susceptible to uncoordinated flood work development.
Work has commenced on the 10 replacement plans and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will consult with communities and stakeholders as the plans are developed.
For information on floodplain management plans visit: https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/water/plans-programs/healthy-floodplains-project/plans