Coastal harvestable rights will return to 10 percent in NSW, with the NSW Government overturning a decision by the former government to increase the amount of rainfall run-off that can be harvested to 30 percent without doing the work necessary to understand the impact this change might have.
Harvestable rights allow landholders to capture and store a set volume of the rainfall run-off on their properties without a need for a licence or certain approvals.
NSW Minister for Water Rose Jackson said the NSW Government is focused on being led by the science and making decisions that protect communities water security for the long-term.
“We will never play fast and loose with our water resources like the former government did,” Ms Jackson said.
“The former government increased coastal harvestable rights before completing the rigorous assessments needed to properly understand what impact this change could have on town water supplies, the environment, other water users and downstream industries.
“With dry conditions on the way, decisions must be robust and evidence-based to ensure our precious water resources are managed sustainably.
“While increasing on-farm storage may help some landholders with improving water security, a uniform increase across all catchments will not be sustainable for everyone.
“We owe it to water users and local communities along the coast to make sure that any increases in water extractions stack up.”
As part of the change, the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) will begin rigorous assessments into what level of water extraction is sustainable for coastal communities that stretch from Tweed Heads down to Eden.
Minor adjustments have also been made to the harvestable rights orders that apply to both the coastal-draining and central-inland draining areas. This makes the harvestable rights rules clearer and easier for Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) to enforce and ensure landholders know what they can and cannot do.
DPE will contact all landholders directly who have increased their harvestable rights dam capacity since the limit was increased to ensure they are clear about how the revised rules will impact them.
For more information, please visit Harvestable rights in coastal-draining and central inland-draining catchments