Floodplain harvesting is the collection, extraction or impoundment of water flowing across floodplains that is not taken under another water access licence, a basic landholder right or a licence exemption.
The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy was released in May 2013. The Policy applies to all floodplain harvesting within NSW and provides a framework for licensing floodplain extractions and approving floodplain harvesting works.
Why do we need a Floodplain Harvesting Policy?
Water that flows across floodplains provides a valuable source of water to local and downstream water users and plays an important role in replenishing floodplains, rivers, wetlands and groundwater.
The NSW Government developed the Policy to provide a framework for licensing floodplain harvesting extractions to more effectively manage floodplain water extractions for the benefit of existing water users and the environment.
Download the Floodplain harvesting licensing fact sheet
How is the policy being implemented?
The policy is currently being implemented in the Gwydir, Namoi, Border Rivers, Macquarie and Barwon-Darling Valleys where floodplain harvesting is most prevalent. For more information visit the NSW Healthy Floodplains Project web page.
How will floodplain harvesting be monitored?
There is currently no monitoring of floodplain harvesting diversions. The capacity to monitor floodplain harvesting diversions is one of the significant advantages of bringing these diversions into the licensing framework.
In anticipation of floodplain harvesting licences, a draft floodplain harvesting monitoring strategy was placed on public exhibition during April 2017. Nine formal submissions were received as part of this process.
In light of the submissions received as well as the recommendations made by Ken Matthews in his final report Independent investigation into NSW water management and compliance, a staged approach to improving the monitoring of floodplain harvesting diversions is now being investigated.
This staged approach acknowledges the challenges to effective monitoring in the floodplain harvesting context but aims to improve rigour over time.