Floodplain harvesting is the capture and use of water flowing across a floodplain that is not covered by another extraction category such as an access licence, harvestable right or capture of irrigation runoff in tailwater return systems according to licence conditions or best management practices.
The NSW Government has finalised the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy. The Floodplain Harvesting Policy will be applied state wide to bring floodplain harvesting activities into a statutory licencing and approvals framework under the Water Management Act 2000.
- View the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy (PDF 164 KB)
Why do we need a Floodplain Harvesting Policy?
Floodwaters provide a valuable source of water to local and downstream water users and play an important role in replenishing floodplains, rivers, wetlands and groundwater.
The NSW Government has developed the Floodplain Harvesting Policy to provide a framework for the management of water extraction from our floodplains for the benefit of existing water users and the environment. The Policy ensures that eligible floodplain water users have the security of a water licence that is compensable under the Water Management Act, which is the case for most other water categories.
Under the Policy, the amount of floodwater available for extraction in NSW will be capped and shared among existing water users. All works undertaking floodplain harvesting extractions will require an approval from the NSW Office of Water before being used to capture floodplain harvesting water.
Key measures of the Policy are that:
- Floodplain harvesting licences will be determined according to the capability of the works that are to be used to extract water.
- Floodplain harvesting licences will be issued in perpetuity, like most other categories of water licence under the Water Management Act 2000.
- Floodplain harvesting licences will have compensation rights under the Water Management Act 2000.
- After the first five years of the Policy, holders of floodplain harvesting licences will not be limited in the amount of unused water allocations they can carry over to subsequent years.
- Trading of annual water allocations for floodplain harvesting licences will be permitted as soon as methods for monitoring and accounting of floodplain harvesting extractions are in place.
- Water users will have greater involvement in the roll out of floodplain harvesting licences through the NSW Healthy Floodplains Project.
Draft Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy
Floodplain landholders and the general community are being invited to comment on a draft Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy.
The harvesting of floodplain water is an important aspect for many rural landholders in the viability and operation of their farming activities. In order to support the accessibility of floodplain water into future, as well as reliability of water supply for downstream users and protection of the environment, access and monitoring of floodplain water extraction is critical.
The draft Policy supports the current legitimate access to floodplain harvesting to protect industry security into the future and is easy for floodplain harvesters to implement to minimise regulatory burden. The Policy is also designed to minimise the costs of measuring, recording and reporting floodplain harvesting.
Under the Water Management Act 2000, water extraction, including floodplain harvesting, must be taken under an appropriate water access licence, a basic landholder right or a licence exemption.
The monitoring requirement for floodplain water will apply to those landholders who are eligible to receive a floodplain harvesting access licence under the Floodplain Harvesting Policy and will form part of their respective licence conditions.
All interested people, especially floodplain landholders, are invited to review the draft Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy and make comment to ensure that the final Policy deals with local issues in a practical way.
The Draft Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy is on exhibition from 16 March to 12 April 2017.
All submissions will be considered in finalising the Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy.
- Draft Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy (PDF, 78.9 KB)
- Fact sheet – Draft Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy overview (PDF, 52.44 KB)
- Submission form – Draft Floodplain Harvesting Monitoring Policy (PDF, 40 KB)
Have Your Say
post: ATTENTION: FPHM policy comments
PO Box 3720
Parramatta NSW 2124
The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 12 April 2017.