Floodplain Harvesting licence rules in the water sharing plans for NSW Border Rivers

The draft rules for floodplain harvesting licences to be included in water sharing plans within the Border Rivers Valley will be released for comment through public exhibition commencing on 20 October 2020. Public exhibition will take place until 30 November 2020.

Upcoming consultation sessions:

The department is holding public meetings in the NSW Border Rivers area, where you can learn more about the proposed water sharing rules for floodplain harvesting licenses and the draft Regional Water Strategy for the Border Rivers.

Register to attend the public meetings

LocationKey dates
Inverell (face-to-face)
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Will also include information about the draft Border Rivers Regional Water Strategy
Tuesday, 10 November 2020
Register
Boggabilla (face-to-face)
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Will also include information about the draft Border Rivers Regional Water Strategy
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Register

Report to assist with your submission

Mor information regarding the draft rules can be found in the Report to assist with community consultation (PDF 1.1 MB).

Please note this report was updated on 20 October 2020 due to an error in Table 7.

Floodplain harvesting access licences to be included in NSW Border Rivers water sharing plans

Floodplain harvesting (regulated river) access licences will be issued to eligible landholders within the NSW Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source, requiring rules for these licences to be included in the Water Sharing Plan for the NSW Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source.

Please note, no floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences will be issued in the NSW Border Rivers Unregulated River Water Sources, and therefore no rules are required to be included in the Water Sharing Plan for the NSW Border Rivers Unregulated River Water Sources 2012.

Summary of draft rules for floodplain harvesting in NSW Border Rivers water sharing plan

A summary of the proposed rules for floodplain harvesting (regulated river) access licences in the Border Rivers Regulated River Water Source is provided below. Feedback is being sought through a public submission process from 20 October 2020 until 30 November 2020 on these draft rules.

Type of rule Proposed rule for floodplain harvesting

Account management

Account limit: Maximum of 5 ML per unit share at any time

Carryover: Unlimited, subject to the account limit

Available water determination

Initial available water determination of 5 ML per unit share, or

Initial available water determination of 1 ML per unit share, or a lesser amount to ensure compliance with the extraction limit.

Available water determination of 1 ML per unit share every year after that, subject to increases or decreases to respond to growth or improved accuracy in calculating the extraction limit

Permanent trade

No nomination of works located in a trading zone that reflects management zones A and D established under the Floodplain Management Plan for the Border Rivers Valley Floodplain 2020 by a floodplain harvesting (regulated river) access licence

Access rules

Restriction, where appropriate, to contribute to meeting flow targets in the Barwon-Darling Unregulated River Water Source.

Restriction may be applied through a section 324 order if:

  • there is uncontrolled flow in one or more   sections of the river, and
  • restrictions are placed on supplementary water   access licences to contribute to meeting the flow targets in the   Barwon-Darling

Protection of environmental flows

No rules proposed specifically for floodplain harvesting

More information regarding the draft rules can be found in the Report to assist with community consultation (PDF 1.1 MB) document.

Reports

If you require assistance in reading these documents, please contact +61 2 9338 6600 or water.relations@dpie.nsw.gov.au.

Modelling reports

The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy sets out a framework for bringing floodplain harvesting into a licencing framework to manage diversions within legal limits The policy requires that individual entitlements in regulated rivers systems 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.

The department has developed two reports to describe how this work has been completed. Firstly, Building the river system model for the Border Rivers Valley regulated river system describes the development of the Border Rivers valley river system model – its conceptualisation, construction and calibration. 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 has made the best use of available data and methods for implementation of the policy.

Secondly, Floodplain Harvesting Entitlements for NSW Border Rivers Regulated River System: Model Scenarios Report, describes how the Source Model of the Border Rivers was used to estimate the Basin Diversion Limit, and to subsequently estimate individual floodplain harvesting entitlements.

Environmental outcomes report

Harvesting of water from floodplains reduces the volume, frequency and duration of floods and can change the timing of flood events, impacting on the health of floodplains and downstream waterways. To manage unconstrained harvesting, the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy will bring floodplain harvesting under a licensing framework to provide a more sustainable level of water diversions from the floodplain.

Hydrological metrics needed to meet recruitment and maintenance needs of native fish, floodplain native vegetation, waterbirds, key ecosystem functions and wetlands were modelled for two scenarios. Implementation of the policy is predicted to improve the number of flow days, frequency and timing of floods for native fish, waterbirds and floodplain vegetation.

Environmental outcomes of implementing the Floodplain Harvesting Policy: Border Rivers report provides a detailed assessment of the likely benefits or disadvantages for the environment of implementing the policy in the NSW Border Rivers Valley.