NSW first in Australia measuring floodplain harvesting

Media release | 6 August 2020

NSW will be the first state in Australia to measure floodplain harvesting as part of its historic water reform action plan.

The Floodplain Harvesting Measurement Policy outlines how floodplain harvesting will be measured and monitored, in preparation for issuing floodplain harvesting access licences in 2021.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the policy delivers on the government’s efforts to develop an advanced, transparent and fair water management system for all of NSW.

“NSW has been the focus of intense public criticism for years, despite having its laws reformed, creating a new compliance agency in the independent Natural Resources Access Regulator and beefing up water metering and monitoring,” Mrs Pavey said.

“NSW is recovering from the worst drought in its recorded history and our communities have bent over backwards to return water to the environment.

“This policy should provide a framework for other states to align with the same standards in management, compliance and transparency that NSW has worked so hard to achieve. No longer should NSW communities be held to one standard and other basin states to another.”

Mrs Pavey said the policy is another step in regulating and measuring floodplain harvesting in NSW and is key to developing a fairer system of floodplain access and balancing the needs of industry and communities with those of the environment.

“The policy comes after more than six years of consultation and aligns with the 2017 Matthews’ Report, which was earmarked to be licensed in the first water sharing plan back in 2003,” Mrs Pavey said.

“The lingering drought and concerns over fish deaths have all highlighted the need for a rigorous and accurate measurement policy for NSW. This is the last form of water take to be regulated in NSW and the development of a measurement policy is a historic turning point for our water management system.”

The Policy will provide landholders access to near-real time data for storage volumes, by using the latest in telemetry and metering technology, and will make it easier for landholders to work within their licensed water share volume.

“Measuring surface water take on these floodplains is a challenging and complex task because of the remoteness of much of the infrastructure.

“It provides a transparent system of measurement we can all trust and will allow for fair and sustainable access to floodplain and water resources.”

Landholders in the northern basin are expected to be measurement ready by 1 July 2021 when floodplain harvesting licences will be issued.

For more information please visit the Floodplain harvesting measurement page.