New water sharing rules to protect water for the environment

Media release | 29 June 2020

Water sharing plans set the rules for sharing surface water and groundwater between competing domestic, industrial, agricultural and environmental needs.

Dr Julie-Anne Harty, A/Director Water Policy Delivery, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, said water management in NSW has been rigorously reformed over the last two years, through our Water Reform Action Plan, providing amendments for sharing water.

“These amendments support the sustainable, equitable and efficient allocation of water to achieve better social and environmental outcomes. They will improve the delivery of environmental water by protecting it from consumptive extraction, so it can remain in the rivers to achieve its intended environmental outcomes,” she said.

The measures proposed for 1 July are:

  • Implementing individual daily extraction components in the Barwon-Darling, and
  • A resumption of flow rule in the Barwon-Darling River.

The measures proposed for 1 December are:

  • Implementing active management in some unregulated portions of the Gwydir and Macquarie valleys and in the Barwon-Darling River.

“The new rules will help improve water quality. This is critical as Professor Vertessy’s report highlighted the importance of water quality, particularly when there was little to no flow in the rivers.”

Dr Harty said for environmental reform initiatives to be successful, licence holders and other stakeholders must be aware of, accept and comply with the new rules and conditions.

“The new rules change the system for how licence users know when they can pump. Water users need to know and understand the new rules, which will be stated on re-issued licences,” she said.

Simple instructions on how to comply with the new rules are available online at Water Report Action Plan information and by direct engagement. There is also a general enquiries email address for those licence holders who have questions.

Further details can be found at the Department’s environmental water hub

Barwon-Darling River