About the Healthy Floodplains Project

The Healthy Floodplains Project is reforming the management of water on floodplains through development and implementation of the floodplain management program and floodplain harvesting program.

This project is being implemented over a six-year period across the five northern valleys in NSW's Murray–Darling Basin: the Barwon–Darling, Border Rivers, Gwydir, Macquarie and Namoi valleys. Up to $50 million has been allocated for this project.

Further information about the Healthy Floodplains project can be found in the Healthy Floodplains project fact sheet.

Floodplain management plan program

Floodplain management plans provide the framework for coordinating flood work development to minimise future changes to flooding behaviour; improving the environmental health of floodplains, and increasing awareness of risk to life and property from the effects of flooding.

Floodplain management planning has been staggered across the five northern valleys in NSW. Floodplain management plans for the Gwydir, Barwon–Darling, Namoi (Upper and Lower) and Border Rivers valleys have commenced. The draft the floodplain management plan for the Macquarie valley has undergone public exhibition. Floodplain management plans that cover all five valleys are scheduled to be in place by September 2020.

Floodplain harvesting program

The floodplain harvesting program project involves the implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy to license floodplain harvesting water extractions and make them subject to volumetric limits.

In accordance with the Policy, NSW will ensure that floodplain harvesting fits within the sustainable diversion limits set by the Basin Plan by establishing new floodplain harvesting entitlements and account management rules that are specifically designed to control any growth in use.

Floodplain harvesting licences and water supply work approvals for all five Northern valleys are scheduled to be in place by June 2021.

Further information about managing floodplain harvesting can be found in the Managing floodplain harvesting fact sheet.

Improvement program for floodplain harvesting measurement

NSW is committed to delivering a transparent and high quality floodplain harvesting measurement framework that meets the recommendations of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Compliance Review 2017 and the subsequent commitments made through the Murray-Darling Basin Compliance Compact 2018. The process has and will continue to involve consultation with a wide range of stakeholders throughout NSW.

Establishing transitional arrangements for floodplain harvesting is an important step in providing regulatory certainty for all water users - watch the video below.