Floodplain harvesting licence rules in the water sharing plans for Barwon-Darling valley

About the plan

Public exhibition on the draft rules for floodplain harvesting access licences ran from 1 June to 8 July 2022. Rules were included in the water sharing plan for the Barwon-Darling Unregulated River Water Source on 17 February 2023. Read the summary of the rules (PDF, 439.87 KB).

The licensing framework for the Barwon-Darling valley is anticipated to commence in April 2023.

For information on how the department has complied with requirements for determining replacement floodplain harvesting licences under the Regulation, refer to the fact sheet (PDF, 168.7 KB).


The department held an information workshop webinar on 28 March 2023 to communicate with landholders, on requirements, obligations and any questions on the licensing and measurement framework commencing for floodplain harvesting access licences on 1 April 2023.

You can view the presentation, watch a recording of the webinar and read a report about the session on our outcomes from the consultation page.

The department held a public webinar and a series of public meetings in the Barwon-Darling area in 2022. All stakeholders were provided with information about the implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy and proposed rules for floodplain harvesting access licences in the Barwon-Darling.

Information was also provided on the draft Western Regional Water Strategy and other proposed amendments to the Water Sharing Plan for the Barwon-Darling Unregulated River Water Source 2012.


Technical reports were developed by the department to help inform the development of the draft rules for floodplain harvesting access licences in the Barwon-Darling valley and are available below.

If you require assistance in reading these documents, please contact 1300 081 047 or water.enquiries@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Report to assist community consultation

The Barwon-Darling: Floodplain harvesting in water sharing plans – Report to assist community consultation report aims to assist the community in understanding the proposed types of rules for floodplain harvesting access licences in the Barwon-Darling. It also provides a summary of the other three technical reports and explains the interaction between the rules, modelling and the expected downstream outcomes once they are put in place.

Modelling reports

The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy requires that individual entitlements in regulated river systems and the Barwon-Darling unregulated river water source will be informed by a capability assessment that considers the works used for floodplain harvesting and the opportunity to access floodplain flows based on location and climatic variability. This capability assessment is undertaken through river system models.

Building the river system model for the Barwon-Darling Valley unregulated river system: Model Build Report describes the development of the Barwon-Darling valley river system model. The model was developed using multiple lines of evidence and best available industry data. The report provides evidence and assessments to demonstrate that the model is fit for purpose.

Floodplain harvesting entitlements for the Barwon-Darling unregulated river system: Model Scenarios Report describes how the model of the Barwon-Darling was used to estimate the basin diversion limit, and to subsequently estimate individual floodplain harvesting entitlements.

The modelling reports for the Barwon-Darling have been independently peer-reviewed – Barwon-Darling reports review – summary May 2022.

Downstream effects reports

The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy will restrict the volume of water that can be taken from the floodplain providing gains to the system through foregone diversion.

Any gains in upstream systems such as the Barwon-Darling valley will translate into the downstream with additional volumes originating in each of the Barwon-Darling tributary valleys contributing to connectivity between the broader northern Basin system and provision of increased flows towards Menindee Lakes and into the River Murray.

Modelled downstream effects of licensing floodplain harvesting in the Barwon-Darling Report quantifies the potential downstream impacts of these increased flows. This report includes work completed for the NSW Border Rivers and the Gwydir and Macquarie valleys.

What we heard

The What We Heard report summarises the feedback the NSW Government received during the public consultation sessions and from written submissions for the Barwon-Darling valley.

Download report

The Barwon-Darling Submissions Report (PDF, 10346.84 KB) details the submissions received via the online platform. Please note only submissions where approval was given to publish have been included.

More information

Water management in Western NSW