Water sharing plan rules for floodplain harvesting

Amendments were made to the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 on 17 December 2021 to set out the process for issuing floodplain harvesting licences and the measurement requirements on those licences. The amendments commenced on 14 February 2022 but were subsequently disallowed on 24 February 2022.

The disallowance means that implementation dates for the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy remain uncertain. The dates specified in our reports and guidelines may therefore be superseded.

The Healthy Floodplain Project is bringing floodplain harvesting into the licensing system. As part of that the department is establishing rules for how water will be taken by floodplain harvesting licences.

Over a phased roll-out, public consultation is being held on each of the water-sharing plans, where we seek feedback and public comment on the proposed rules. See the proposed timeline.

After public exhibition has closed the department will collate submissions and publish a ‘What we heard” report that summarises the outcomes of the process. The final step will be to include rules in the appropriate water sharing plans and issue floodplain harvesting licences.

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:

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 five valleys in the northern Murray–Darling Basin. Individual valley dates can be found at implementation timelines.

For more information and key dates visit stakeholder engagement.


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.