Floodplain Harvesting licence rules in the water sharing plan for the Macquarie valley

The draft rules for floodplain harvesting licences in the Macquarie valley were released for comment through public exhibition on 22 March 2021. Public exhibition ran from 22 March 2021 until 18 April 2021.

Past consultation sessions

The department held a public webinar, face-to-face public meetings in the Macquarie valley area, and a series of targeted consultation events with specific stakeholder groups. All stakeholders were provided with information about the implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy and proposed water sharing rules for floodplain harvesting licenses in the Macquarie valley.

Technical reports

The technical reports were developed by the department to help inform the development of the draft floodplain harvesting licensing rules in the Macquarie valley. To help you make an informed submission please ensure you have read the report to assist community consultation and viewed the other relevant technical reports.

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

Report to assist community consultation

The Macquarie: Floodplain harvesting in water sharing plans–Report to assist community consultation PDF, 590.43 KB report aims to assist the community in understanding the proposed types of rules for floodplain harvesting access licences in the Macquarie valley. It also provides a summary of the other four technical reports and explains the interaction between the rules, modelling and the expected environmental benefits once they are put in place.

Modelling reports

The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy requires that individual entitlements in regulated river 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.

Building the river system model for the Macquarie valley regulated river system describes the development of the Macquarie 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 Macquarie Cudgegong Regulated River System: Model Scenarios Report, describes how the model of the Macquarie valley was used to estimate the baseline diversion limit, and to subsequently estimate individual floodplain harvesting entitlements.

The modelling reports for the Macquarie valley have been independently peer-reviewed.

Environmental outcomes reports

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. The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy will provide a more sustainable level of water diversions from the floodplain.

Hydrological metrics for native fish, floodplain native vegetation, waterbirds, key ecosystem functions and wetlands were modelled for two scenarios. Implementation of the policy is predicted to provide small environmental improvements in the Macquarie valley.

Environmental outcomes of implementing the Floodplain Harvesting Policy: Macquarie Report provides a detailed assessment of the likely benefits for the environment of implementing the policy in the Macquarie valley.

Environmental outcomes of implementing the Floodplain Harvesting Policy: Macquarie growth in general security scenario report provides a detailed assessment of the likely benefits for the environment of implementing the policy in the Macquarie valley if general security use grows to the legal limit and floodplain harvesting diversions need to be reduced.

A summary of the environmental outcomes predicted for the Border Rivers, Gwydir and Macquarie Valleys is available below.

Downstream effects reports

Modelling has shown that total water use, including floodplain harvesting, is within legal limits in the Macquarie valley. This means that there will be no reductions in current take, and there will be little environmental benefits from any foregone diversions.

The report of the modelled downstream effects of licensing floodplain harvesting that quantifies the potential downstream impacts of increased flows was not updated at the time of consultation for the Macquarie valley given the limited environmental benefits from any foregone diversions. A downstream effects report has been updated for consultation on the draft floodplain harvesting licensing rules in the Barwon-Darling valley in June 2022 and includes information about the Macquarie valley.

Independent peer review

The modelling reports for the Macquarie valley has been independently peer-reviewed.

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 Macquarie valley.

In addition to the final rules detailed in the What we heard report, an additional rule has been proposed that acknowledges the connectivity between the Barwon-Darling valley and the northern inland tributary valleys, and ensure flows are temporarily protected from floodplain harvesting following a dry period. More information on this rule.

Download report

The Macquarie Submissions Report PDF, 445.02 KB details the submissions received via the online platform. Please note only submissions where approval was given to publish have been included. Written submissions or attachments with additional information can be found below.