The NSW Government recognises that our rivers and groundwater systems are potentially threatened by the over-extraction of water. Water sharing plans have been developed to establish rules for sharing water between the needs of the environment and all other water users. Use of a river or aquifer can be for town and rural water, industry or irrigation. The department assesses water sharing plans to determine whether the plans are successful in maintaining or improving the health of our rivers and aquifers.
It is important that we understand the reasons for any changes to our water. This knowledge can be used to improve the way we manage water resources. Monitoring assesses how our rivers are responding to environmental flows. Monitoring can also investigate how different patterns of water flow affect the way our rivers function. We are interested in the river's physical form, its fringing vegetation and what sort of fish and insects live there. Groundwater can also be important in supporting vegetation. All of this information is then used to gauge the health of our rivers and floodplain systems.
As our scientific understanding increases we will be able to more effectively allocate water to the environment and other water users. We can better evaluate the performance of water sharing plans. Scientific feedback informs efficient sharing of water.