Floodplain harvesting framework on right track

An independent peer review draft report has confirmed NSW is on the right track towards implementing the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy, which will license the capture of water from floodplains.

“Licensing of floodplain water extractions is the next step in water management for NSW,” NSW Department of Industry Director Water Programs and Performance Daniel Blacker said.

The review’s draft findings verify progress to date and validate the significant investment made by the NSW and Commonwealth Government in science and modelling to more accurately quantify the size and scale of floodplain harvesting in the NSW Northern Basin.

“It’s clear there has been an increase in floodplain harvesting infrastructure in the last twenty years. The policy applies to approximately 500 properties and 1,700 storages in the Northern Basin.

“Importantly, implementing the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy will also give assurance to all water users in the Murray-Darling Basin that floodplain harvesting is being appropriately managed,” Mr Blacker said.

The review included draft recommendations which the Department accepts in full. These recommendations include the prompt publication of documentation which explains the modelling method and holding a series of regional workshops on the modelling methodology.

The review builds on other vital water management work currently being undertaken by the NSW Government including the introduction of robust new metering laws that came into effect this month. Seventy per cent of the largest water users (those using 500mm pump size and above) in the Northern Basin currently have meters. By 1 December 2019, all large water users will have accurate, tamper-proof meters fitted with telemetry.

The peer review was commissioned by the Department of Industry ‒ Water and the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). The Department will develop a detailed action plan to implement the review recommendations.

Floodplain harvesting can only occur during very wet periods. As a result of the current drought no significant floodplain harvesting in the NSW Northern Basin has occurred since 2016 ‒ more than 2 years ago.

Floodplain Harvesting Policy workshops will be held in Narrabri (16 July 2019), Dubbo (17 July 2019), Sydney (18 July 2019), Deniliquin (30 July 2019), and Wentworth (31 July 2019). These will offer communities an opportunity to hear about the peer review findings as well as actions that the Department will be taking in response to the recommendations.

Venues and updates can be found by visiting the floodplain harvesting webpage.

Source: NSW Government