Media Release


Government left with no way to limit floodplain harvesting, hitting other licence holders instead

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment – Water (DPIE-Water) today issued a notice to supplementary licence holders in the Gwydir and Border Rivers valleys, that their water access will be slashed.

The big slash comes after the Government was left with no way to limit floodplain harvesting take, and now must look to the licences that do exist, to restrict the valleys total take back to Cap.

NSW Irrigators’ Council (NSWIC) described the move as “totally unfair” and “hurting the wrong people”.

“The big slash impacts property rights of people who may not floodplain harvest – they are now having to cop the hit to their water access to make room for the growth in floodplain harvesting of others in their valley. That’s totally unfair.”

The move follows the disallowance of regulations last month which would have provided the Government with a mechanism to regulate and limit floodplain harvesting, by issuing licences to restrict it to the Cap, and require metering.

“The notice issued today is a result of the Government having no means to limit floodplain harvesting, which has grown in recent decades to push some valleys total water take above the Cap.”

“Now, the only option for Government, was to turn to the licences which do exist for other forms of water access, and which they do have means to limit, in order to limit total water take back to Cap.”

“This is grossly inequitable. It is floodplain harvesting that has grown, so it is floodplain harvesting that should be reduced – anything else is a grossly inequitable property right impact.”

“We have said it time and time again, but if people want floodplain harvesting limited and metered, they need to support the regulations that enable that to happen.”

The regulations did not set the limits, they just recognised floodplain harvesting as a form of water take, and provided a means for the government to manage it to ensure total take within the valley across all forms of water access (including floodplain harvesting) remains within the established 93/94 Cap.

“Todays hit to the wrong water property rights is a result of politics, and again, has produced an outcome no one really wants.”

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