Why review water sharing plans?
NSW water sharing plans are valid for 10 years from their commencing date. Amendments to water sharing plans are made throughout their life to ensure they comply with changing legislation and to facilitate their implementation. However, near the end of the ten year term, a formal review is completed by both the department and the Natural Resource Commission to identify the necessary alterations to deliver better outcomes for all water users, including the environment.
What is the review process?
Under the Water Management Act 2000 the Minister may, on recommendation by the Natural Resources Commission, extend a water sharing plan for another 10 years or replace the plan.
Extension refers to the extension of a plan for a further 10 years without change. Replacement is where changes to the existing plan are proposed.
In some cases where a smaller plan is being replaced, it may be merged into a larger plan.
What does this mean for me?
Where a plan will be replaced or amended, the department will undertake consultation with stakeholders, which may include a formal public exhibition period, targeted consultation or other meetings or workshops, depending on the nature of the amendments proposed and the needs of stakeholders.
More information on how the department assesses the effects of water sharing plan rule changes can be found on the fact sheet ((PDF 292.7 KB)) Assessing the effects of water sharing plan rule changes.
How can I be involved?
The department will notify licence holders and other stakeholders when the review of a water sharing plan is due to commence. The department collaborates with the Natural Resource Commission, consulting with stakeholders and gathering information to inform reviews.
Water sharing plans undergoing a review are advertised on the Have Your Say website and submissions are collated by the Natural Resource Commission and shared with the department. This is generally followed by targeted stakeholder meetings to discuss issues and understand stakeholder concerns.