Planning process

Water resource plans are a key requirement of the Commonwealth Basin Plan 2012. There are 22 water resource plans required to be developed in NSW and each plan varies in the number of resources, their level of development, number of environmental assets, and geography affecting the way the rivers are run in each area.

To help water users understand how these plans will be developed, the NSW Water Resource Plan Roadmap 2016–2019 outlines the processes, key timelines and the principles for the creation of the plans. the department will also provide weekly progress reports against this roadmap and how the department is tracking against key timelines.

Water resource plans will reflect the NSW arrangements in water sharing plans for shaing water for consumptive use. They will also reflect the NSW rules to meet environmental and water quality objectives and will take into account potential and emerging risks to water resources.

To meet the minimum requirements of the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 and Basin Plan, NSW water resource plans must:

  • describe all water rights in the plan area
  • demonstrate how compliance with the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) prescribed in the Basin Plan will be assessed and maintained
  • include a Water Quality Management Plan
  • provide for environmental watering
  • address risks to water resources identified in a risk assessment
  • explain how essential human needs will be met in extreme events
  • take account of Aboriginal people’s water dependent cultural values and uses.

All of the water resource plans will also include one or more NSW water sharing plans.

The NSW Government has always advocated for a true triple-bottom-line approach to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which balances economic, environmental and socio-economic concerns, and puts local communities first.

The development of NSW water resource plans will adhere to these fundamental principles, with stakeholder and community consultation at the forefront.

This has included the opportunity to comment on each water resource plan's Status and Issues paper. Targeted consultation including with Stakeholder Advisory Panels (SAPs) is being undertaken and there will be an opportunity to comment on each draft plan.

For further information refer to Water Resource Plans - Murray-Darling Basin Authority.