Floodplain harvesting and regulation disallowance vote

28 September, 2020
Floodplain harvesting and regulation disallowance vote Image

The Water Management (General) Amendment (Exemptions for Floodplain Harvesting) Regulation 2020 was disallowed in the Upper House last week with the Shooters, Labor, One Nation and the Greens voting for better management of water take in NSW.

The Regulation was a band aid approach to a 20-year old problem. It has been 20 years that successive Governments have failed to adequately regulate Floodplain Harvesting (FPH). This creates uncertainty for communities, the environment and agriculture.

I understand FPH to be legal under what remains of the Water Act 1912. The lack of regulation coupled with long-term inaction by Government has allowed rumours and conflict between farmers and communities up and down rivers to thrive - we need to stop that. These criticisms take a toll on the wellbeing of people in the North almost all of whom operate to the rules they are given. The 1912 Act did account for the water needs of others, the 2000 Water Management Act does, but only when all forms of take are in a Water Sharing Plan (WSP). This transition has been documented in every WSP, but since 2000, Governments have failed to progress it.

To shut down the criticism, and provide certainty to communities, environment and farmers, Government will now have to expedite the transition of FPH into WSPs. The band aid approach of poor regulation has been ripped off. This will mean all forms of take will be metered and demonstrated to be within Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) or CAP, and the accusations, and wild numbers can stop.

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