Water sharing plan rules for floodplain harvesting
Floodplain harvesting is an important source of water for industry, particularly in the northern basin areas of NSW. Bringing floodplain harvesting into the licensing system will ensure the volume of water taken as part of floodplain harvesting stays within legal limits specified in water sharing plans improving environmental, cultural and downstream connectivity outcomes.
Water sharing plans are developed under the Water Management Act 2000 and set out rules for how water is allocated within a water source or group of water sources. These rules include limits on the volume of water that can be taken under licences and basic landholder rights. Limits are set to keep floodplain harvesting levels at or below the long-term volume that was capable of being taken in the 1993–94 water year.
Delivering on our commitment to the Floodplain Harvesting policy
The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy provides a framework for licensing floodplain harvesting extractions. The policy is currently being implemented across the northern Murry–Darling Basin and the department expects the licensing framework for floodplain harvesting in the Northern Basin to be operational by July 2021.
The Floodplain Harvesting Action Plan outlines the NSW Government’s commitment to regulating and measuring floodplain harvesting, and ensures the process is being undertaken in a way that improves trust, confidence and transparency by working closely with stakeholders and the community.
One of the key deliverables of the Action Plan is to ensure the licensing framework for floodplain harvesting be operational in all water sharing plans. This means that the rules for the issuing of floodplain harvesting licences for regulated and unregulated water sources will be included in the relevant water sharing plans.
We are now asking the community to have their say on the water sharing rules for floodplain harvesting licences in the five northern valleys of the Murray-Darling Basin in northern NSW.
Have your say on the draft rules
The department is seeking feedback on water sharing plan rules for floodplain harvesting licences in the five northern valleys of the Murray-Darling Basin in northern NSW:
- Border Rivers
- Barwon-Darling and
What we are consulting on
The five key rules in the water sharing plans that we are asking for your feedback on are:
- account management rules
- available water determinations
- permanent trade rules
- access arrangements, including rules to protect environmental flows
- amendment provisions
Account Management rules
The department has developed an animated video that illustrates the proposed account management rules and highlights considerations such as:
- Is the accounting period appropriate to the resource?
- How large will the entitlements be with these accounting rules?
- Will the rules drive a change in behaviour?
- Will the rules encourage growth of floodplain harvesting?
Attend a consultation session and submit your feedback
The draft water sharing plan rules for floodplain harvesting licences will be on public exhibition in each of the following valleys in the northern Murray–Darling Basin.
|Floodplain valley||Public exhibition status||Closing date for submissions|
|Border Rivers||Closed||Submissions closed on Monday, 30 November 2020|
|Gwydir||Opening early 2021||To be advised|
|Namoi||Opening early 2021||To be advised|
|Barwon–Darling||Opening early 2021||To be advised|
|Macquarie||Opening early 2021||To be advised|
NSW Healthy Floodplains Project is funded by the Australian Government’s Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program as part of the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in NSW.