Review and replacement of water sharing plans
NSW water sharing plans are valid for 10 years from their commencing date. Amendments to water sharing plans are made throughout their life to ensure they comply with changing legislation and to facilitate their implementation. However, near the end of the ten year term, a formal review is completed by both DPI Water and the Natural Resource Commission to identify the necessary alterations to deliver better outcomes for all water users, including the environment.
The review dates for all water sharing plans is summarised in Schedule for the extension or replacement of water sharing plans below.
What is the review process?
Under the Water Management Act 2000 the Minister may, on recommendation by the Natural Resources Commission, extend a water sharing plan for another 10 years or replace the plan.
Extension refers to the extension of a plan for a further 10 years without change. Replacement is where changes to the existing plan are proposed.
In some cases where a smaller plan is being replaced, it may be merged into a larger plan.
Flow diagram that outlines the process of the review and extension or remake of a water sharing plan
Where a plan is to be extended, there is no change thus minimal or no engagement is necessary.
Where a plan is to be replaced, but there is no change to the intent of the plan rules, DPI Water will engage with stakeholders to explain how proposed changes are consistent with the intent of the plan. This means that there will not be another submission period or a formal public exhibition for the plan before it is replaced. However, depending on the needs of stakeholders, other forms of consultation such as information sessions or one-on-one meetings may be offered.
Where a plan is to be replaced, and there are more extensive changes that alter the intent of plan rules DPI Water will consult with interested stakeholders before replacement plans are finalised. In these instances a formal public exhibition period, with calls for submissions, may be held. Depending on the needs of stakeholders, other forms of consultation such as targeted consultation with peak organisations, information sessions, or one-on-one meetings may be held.
DPI Water will notify licence holders and other stakeholders when the review of a water sharing plan is due to commence. DPI Water collaborates with the Natural Resource Commission, consulting with stakeholders and gathering information to inform reviews.
Water sharing plans undergoing a review are advertised on the NSW Government Have Your Say website and submissions are collated by the Natural Resource Commission and shared with DPI Water. This is generally followed by targeted stakeholder meetings to discuss issues and understand stakeholder concerns.
Update on review of 2004 and 2007 plans
For more information on the review of existing Water Sharing Plans, visit the relevant pages:
The following table details the schedule for water sharing plan extension or replacement. Note that for plans yet to commence (marked with *), the actual commencement date will set the plan extension or replacement date. Plans that commence on a date other than 1 July will be effective for 10 years from the next occurring 1 July date.
* Review date will depend on commencement date of these plans
** Note that review dates for inland water sharing plans in the Murray-Darling Basin are likely to be re-set based on water resource plan commencement dates. Information in this table will be updated once this has been confirmed. See Water Resource Plans for more information.
*** The review of the Lower Lachlan Groundwater Water Sharing Plan was undertaken in conjunction with the review of the 2017 water sharing plans to inform the development of the Water Resource Plan for the Lachlan Alluvium
Under section 43A (6) of the Act, if the Minister decides not to extend a plan for a further 10 year period, the Minister may extend the plan until the commencement of a replacement plan or the second anniversary of the plan's expiry, whichever occurs sooner.
As part of the planning process for the extension of the water sharing plans, it is proposed that single catchment unregulated river water sources and groundwater aquifers will be merged within the larger macro water sharing plan for that area.
See Proposed plan mergers for more information.