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

About the plan

The draft rules for floodplain harvesting access licences to be included in the Barwon-Darling water sharing plan were released for comment through public exhibition commencing on 1 June 2022. Public exhibition ran from 1 June until 8 July 2022.

Timeline

Download a larger version–Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan timeline

Past consultation sessions

The department held a public webinar and a series of public meetings in the Barwon-Darling area. 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.

Reports

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 regulated river system 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 Barwon-Darling Regulated 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.

Summary of draft rules for floodplain harvesting in the Barwon-Darling

Summaries of the proposed rules for floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences in the Barwon-Darling are provided below. Feedback was  sought through a public submission process from 1 June until 8 July 2022 on these draft rules. Rules will be included in the water sharing plan once finalised, based on the outcomes of public consultation.

Floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences – rule summary

Type of rule Proposed rule for floodplain harvesting
Account management Account limit: Maximum of 5 ML per unit share at any time
Available water determination

Initial available water determination of 1 ML per unit share

Available water determination of 1 ML per unit share every year after that, subject to decreases to respond to growth

Permanent trade

Establishing trading zones that reflect the river sections that currently exist for unregulated river access licences.

No permanent trade of floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences between river sections.

No nomination of works located outside the Barwon-Darling Valley floodplain.

Granting or amending water supply works approvals

No modification of works located in management zones A or D established under the Floodplain Management Plan for the Barwon-Darling Valley Floodplain 2017 if it results in an increased capacity.

No new works constructed in management zones A or D.

No new or modified works outside management zones A or D if the construction or modification would result in an increased rate of take for works located in management zones A or D.

Access rules

Access is not permitted when resumption of flow rules are in effect.

Access is not permitted when Menindee Lakes is below 195GL until a continuous flow of at least 4,000 ML is forecast to occur in the Darling River at the Wilcannia gauge.

More information

Water management in Western NSW