What are the limits and why are they important?
In New South Wales all water sharing plans include long-term average annual extraction limits (LTAAELs). Any NSW water sharing plan for a water source within the Murray Darling Basin will also include a sustainable diversion limit (SDL), as set by the Basin Plan 2012. This page includes information on how the two limits work, how they differ and why we have two separate limits.
The extraction limits are used to enable the long-term objectives of NSW water sharing plans and the Basin Plan 2012 to be met. These limits are designed to protect water resources, dependent ecosystems and communities from the impacts of over-extraction in the longer term. They reinforce the value of water, support the water market and the integrity of tradeable water entitlements.
The NSW water sharing plans either specify the extraction limits or how the limits are calculated. The water sharing plans also specify how we assess if the extraction limits have been exceeded and any compliance action that is required. For example, the Minister may need to reduce access for a particular category of access licence in the years following an identified breach of a limit to return extractions to that limit. These steps are shown in Figure 1.