Floodplain harvesting licensing

Floodplain harvesting is the capture and use of water flowing across a floodplain. It is the last substantial form of water take to be licensed in NSW and licensing it will allow it to be regulated, meaning the NSW Government can account for it and ensure it is compliant with rules and limits.

Licensing process

The licensing process for floodplain harvesting has been designed in accordance with the requirements of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy. The farm scale validation process, which informs model inputs and draft licence entitlements, has been carried out as a result of the recommendations of the independent review of the department’s implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy.

The Guideline for the implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy details the implementation process for the policy.

Between April 2020 and October 2020 submissions relating to on-farm eligible works and modelling statistics were invited from landholders.

The NSW Healthy Floodplains Review Committee reviewed all submissions and analyses and provided recommendations to the department on each issue raised. The committee’s recommendations were reviewed and approved by the department.

Landholders received a letter to notify them of the determinations made by the committee for eligible works and modelling submissions. These letters advised landholders of the recommendations made to the department for each issue raised in their submissions. The letters also confirmed that the department would consider the committee’s advice and communicate its final determination to landholders in due course.

At completion of the licensing process, final determinations will be used to issue floodplain harvesting access licences.

Farm scale validation

The eligibility of works capable of floodplain harvesting were determined based on the following sources of information:

  • data collection by department staff during onsite property inspections
  • information provided to the department by landholders
  • historical remote sensing data
  • climatic records
  • topographic and parish maps
  • floodplain models
  • observed rainfall, streamflow and headworks storage records
  • published literature
  • data and information provided by duly qualified practitioners.

For further information on the farm scale validation process please refer to the Licensing Farm Scale Validation Process PDF, 640.18 KB.

Farm scale validation process

NSW Healthy Floodplains Review Committee

The NSW Healthy Floodplains Review Committee was established to:

  • Facilitate the orderly and equitable consideration of landholders’ requests to be considered eligible for a floodplain harvesting licence.
  • Review and assess submissions by the floodplain harvesting registrants with respect to the department’s determinations of eligibility of works or draft entitlements.

Membership of the committee is by invitation from the Deputy Secretary, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Water. The committee operates under established Terms of Reference.

Landholders received a letter to notify them of the determinations made by the NSW Healthy Floodplains Review Committee for eligible works and modelling submissions. These letters advised landholders of the recommendations made to the department, for each issue raised in their submissions. The letters also confirmed that the department would consider the NSW Healthy Floodplains Review Committee’s advice and communicate its final determination to landholders in due course.

At completion of the licensing process, final determinations will be used to issue floodplain harvesting access licences.