Irrigation in coastal regions of NSW has great diversity and is distinct from inland systems.
Examples of coastal produce include fruits (such as bananas and berries), nuts (such as macadamias and avocados), dairy, cut flowers and turf, vineyards, and sugarcane.
Coastal river catchments differ from inland NSW catchments, in terms of:
Hydrology (volume and movement of water) – coastal rivers are usually steeper and shorter resulting in ‘flashier’ flows.
Climate – characterised by high average annual rainfall (many areas receive more than 1,000 mm and some in the 1,500- to 2,000mm range).
Water demands – generally coastal irrigators have small volume licences, but there are many thousands of them.
Coastal streams and rivers are generally unregulated— meaning they do not have major storages or dams to control the release of flows. Licensed water users typically may only pump when flows are above the cease-to-pump flow level set in the relevant Water Sharing Plan.
Licence holders accessing water typically use between 3 – 10% of the total water yield, leaving 90 –97% to be discharged.
NSWIC has coastal member organisations from the Bega, Richmond-Wilson and Hunter Valleys.