Questions and answers

The following are questions by topic asked from the registration and during the Water Engagement Roundup webinar recorded on 17 November 2021.

Stakeholder engagement

Q. What is the definition of 'customer'

A. The definition of ‘customer’ is broad and includes anyone (or a business) who lives, works, or conducts its business in NSW and interacts either directly or indirectly (I.e. benefits from policy or is regulated) with the NSW Government.

Q. Does your definition of Customer cover obligations to the environment?

A. Yes. A good example of the transformation that has been occurring is the holding of water rights in the Murray Darling basin. The environmental water holder is a direct customer representative of the environment. The environment as customer is an important part of how the licensing approval system is administered and managed to protect planned water. Recognising the environment as a customer of how the department administers licences has benefits for not only the environmental water holder, but also the environment.

Please see our stakeholder policy (PDF, 163.77 KB).

Regional Water Strategy

Q. What is the progress on the South Coast Regional Water Strategy?

A. The draft South Coast Regional Water Strategy was on public exhibition from the 30th of October until the 13th of December 2020.

For more information visit the “what we heard” document from the public exhibition period.

Water sharing plan

Q. What is the timeline for Murray Lower Darling water sharing plans (WSPs)? Will the Customer Advisory Groups (CAGs) or Stakeholder Advisory Groups (SAPs) get the opportunity to be involved prior to final submission of revised WSPs?

A. The department is working to complete the regulated water sharing plan (WSP) for the Murray Lower Darling as part of the water resource plan (WRP) finalisation over the coming months.

The plans are essentially the same as those placed on public exhibition as part of the WRP package in 2019 that was presented at the final stakeholder advisory panel (SAP) meetings in March 2020 and submitted to Murray Darling Basin Authority in June 2020. Water Resource Plans - status - Water in New South Wales (

Customer advisory groups (CAGs) are run by WaterNSW. Customer Advisory Groups - WaterNSW

Q. What is progress on the South Coast water sharing plan?

A. There are three water sharing plans (WSPs) that are currently being progressed for replacement by 1 July 2023 on the South Coast. These include the Towamba, Murrah-Wallaga and Bega. Public exhibition in relation to the plan replacement for each WSP is planned to occur in late 2022.

The Natural Resource Commission reviews and audits all the water sharing plans and these can be found on their website.

Trading Water

Q. In light of recent discussions on water trading following ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) Inquiry, who in NSW taking the lead on this matter within DPIE?

A. What's happened most recently is that the Commonwealth has appointed an independent advisor to drive a collective response to the ACCC reforms and they’ve appointed a panel of experts to support the independent advisor’ work. Details here: The ACCC advisory group.

Within the NSW Government domain, we are looking at things that we can do sooner and get on with early next year, even if we do not have a collective response.


Q. How does the allocation process consider end of system flow rules & need for flows to enter downstream connectivity

A. End of system flows are prescribed in many Water sharing plans - Water in New South Wales (, and are considered an environmental water delivery target. They aim to provide flow connectivity with the next downstream watercourse as a minimum. The water needed to maintain this commitment is set aside as a priority in the resource assessment. However, when resources start to deplete as systems dry, and storages reach low levels, there can be insufficient water to reach the end of the system without putting critical needs at risk. Therefore, during severe dry periods, regulated river systems can be reduced in length (end of system flow rules suspended) as a drought contingency strategy to protect critical human water needs. Please visit our webpage more information River management - Water in New South Wales (


Q.  Has a new process to amend License's where the insitu pumps are less than the licence currently allows for?

A. The NSW Government is working on making changes to clarify that a water user can install a work that is smaller than authorised on a work approval.

Once the changes are in place, water users will be required to inform their licensing authority if their installed work is smaller than stipulated in their work approval.

WaterNSW is developing a system that allows water users to update this information, without the need to amend their works approval.

We will provide more information about these changes soon, including the process and timeframes for water users to inform their licensing authority.

Water users are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the details of their works approvals by accessing the NSW Water Register, and to consider whether this change may apply to them.

Water Infrastructure NSW

Q. With the revised Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) projects proposed/ underway for NSW, does DPIE have any figures for what the revised offset volume will be?

A. Some of the key projects are still in the initiation stage, such as works in the Better Baaka and Better Bidgee programs.  Studies on the revised offset volumes will be undertaken when these programs progress to planning and development stage.

You can find more information at Water Infrastructure | Water (