What we heard at our consultation sessions
Based on what we heard, the department will do the following:
- On 1 July 2021, in groundwater sources where groundwater extraction limits have been exceeded and action is needed to return extraction to the limit, we will reduce the ‘available water determinations’ for the 2021–22 water year.
- By 1 July 2022, we will further consider stakeholder feedback and undertake additional consultation before preparing and publishing the method the department will use to manage extraction to extraction limits in inland groundwater sources from 1 July 2022 onwards. The method that applies may differ between water sources.
Water sharing plans allow the NSW Government to manage extraction to extraction limits by reducing the available water determination or the maximum water account debit or a combination if extractions by all water users exceeds limits. Other options are not available under the water sharing plans.
The focus of this consultation was on how we apply the methods currently available under water sharing plans to manage groundwater extractions to extraction limits. We sought stakeholder views on:
- what method or combination of methods permitted under the current water sharing plans we should use
- whether we should continue to apply the current assumptions for predicting future use or if we should use different assumptions in calculating an available water determination or maximum water account debit
- the timeframe for returning extraction to extraction limits if limits were exceeded (a maximum of 3 years was suggested)
- what implications there are for introducing a new procedure to manage extraction to the limits in the next water year (1 July 2021) and if a transition period is supported before a new procedure is introduced.