The NSW Government is calling for feedback on the draft Intersecting Streams Water Sharing Plan which will set out clear rules for the fair and sustainable division of water among users and the environment for the next decade.
Minister for Water Rose Jackson said we need input from the community to help create a robust plan that will safeguard future water resources across 120,431 square kilometres in north-western NSW from the Queensland border to Wilcannia.
“The Intersecting Streams catchment is home to some incredibly diverse and endangered waterbird species and two Ramsar wetlands, so it’s paramount that we protect its environmental value,” Ms Jackson said.
“In order to both improve and protect these delicate ecosystems in the Paroo and Narran Rivers and boost connectivity throughout our river systems we are proposing changes to the water sharing plan.”
The proposed changes include:
- Prohibiting users from setting up water supply works in the wetlands areas.
- Changing to cease to pump rules for the Narran River to protect low flows.
- Including adjustments to how we measure the trigger levels, and fixing an error at one
of the gauges, which meant people were taking water when they weren’t supposed to.
- Providing exemptions for councils or local water utilities to build in-river dams, to bolster
town water security.
Ms Jackson said protecting low flows to ensure they can get downstream is important for both critical human and environmental needs and the changes we’re proposing to the plan are crucial in the face of a changing climate.
“The effects of the last drought were devastating and with another drought now on our doorstep we are putting forward changes to the water sharing plan that will ensure we are securing water supplies and protecting vital environmental habitats,” Ms Jackson said.
“These are important proposed changes, so I encourage water users to share their thoughts to make sure we develop a plan that will work for everyone.
“This is about making sure that everyone gets their fair share of water while also protecting the long-term health of our waterways and the eco-systems that depend on them.”
People have until midnight on 13 October to submit feedback on the draft plan.
Every submission will be carefully considered before the final water sharing plan comes into effect on 1 July 2024.
Water sharing plans are legal instruments which must be reviewed and replaced every 10 years to make sure they are meeting the changing needs of the environment and water users, particularly in the face of a more extreme climate.
To learn more, visit Draft replacement Water Sharing Plan for the Intersecting Streams Unregulated River Water Sources