Floodplain harvesting program

Floodplain harvesting is the capture and use of water flowing across a floodplain. This is an important source of water for industry, particularly in the Northern Murray–Darling Basin areas of NSW.

Floodplain harvesting is the last substantial capture of water to be licensed in the Basin. Bringing floodplain harvesting into the licensing system will improve accounting and compliance of water use in NSW.

Building public confidence and trust

Watch the video on Building Public Confidence.

Probity review into floodplain harvesting licensing

Licensing processes are essential in establishing floodplain harvesting entitlements and so having confidence in this process is critical. A probity review, undertaken by the legal firm Maddock’s, has looked at the processes leading up to the granting of floodplain harvesting works approvals. The probity review found that the licensing processes used were lawful, well documented and that the eligibility criteria were consistently applied.

Independent peer review into floodplain harvesting

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment together with the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) commissioned an independent peer review (PDF 1.4 MB) of implementation of the Floodplain Harvesting Policy in northern NSW. The key objective of the review is to provide transparency around the technical information and to provide stakeholders with confidence that the technical rigour and supporting processes are suitable to support policy implementation.

There are many complexities and uncertainties associated with modelling on-farm floodplain harvesting. Over the past 6 years the department has invested significantly in technologies such as remote sensing, computer modelling and data to build accuracy and confidence in the estimate of floodplain harvesting volumetric entitlements.

The independent review report confirms that NSW is on the right track towards implementing the policy, however makes some key recommendations for improvement, which the Department has accepted in full and responded to in Floodplain Harvesting Action Plan (PDF 421.7 KB).

Questions/feedback

General questions

General questions relating to Floodplain Harvesting can be sent at any time to floodplain.harvesting@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Water sharing rules – floodplain harvesting

Submissions relating to water sharing rules for floodplain harvesting should be made through the water resource planning process.

Floodplain harvesting draft entitlements

Following the release of draft floodplain harvesting entitlements, a submission process for comments will be provided. Submissions should be made if individual floodplain harvesting modelling (to be provided at the same time as draft floodplain harvesting entitlements) does not accurately reflect the variability in diversions from eligible floodplain harvesting works. Submissions should include verifiable evidence to support any claims made. All submissions will be referred to the Healthy Floodplains Review Committee for advice before a final decision is made by the NSW Department of Industry.