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Floodplain management

The department regulates floodplain harvesting through licensing, measurement and management.

The Murray River at Moama in New South Wales.

About floodplain management

Floodplain management aims to improve and maintain natural floodplain flows in rural areas. This is done through the development of floodplain management plans, licensing of floodplain harvesting, and addressing unapproved flood works.

Licensing floodplain harvesting means that the NSW Government can make sure this form of water take is managed and measured within legal limits.

Setting the requirements for how licence holders will measure floodplain harvesting water take.

Feedback from the community has informed licensing of floodplain harvesting.

Floodplain management plans provide the framework for coordinating the development of flood works on a whole-of-valley basis.

A compliance program focused on improving floodplain connectivity in the northern Basin.

Find resources, such as fact sheets and publications.

Floodplain projects and programs

A major drain servicing multiple properties.

A project to improve the rules for managing coastal agricultural drainage works in NSW.

New England Highway and rail line, East Maitland

The scheme was built to protect life and property from the impacts of flooding to the Hunter community.

Reforming management of floodplain harvesting

Floodplain harvesting is when water flowing across floodplains is captured and used, (e.g. irrigation). This happens when water spills out from a river during a major flood or overland flow after a significant rainfall event.

Together with other forms of water extraction, floodplain harvesting can push surface water take above the limits set out in NSW water sharing plans and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The NSW Government is reforming the management of water on the floodplains of inland NSW. Our aim is to make sure there is a fair share for all users and the environment.

The reform will bring floodwater take into the water licensing framework and reduce floodplain harvesting to within legal limits.

This is being done by regulating floodplain harvesting through licensing, measurement and management. It will make sure there is a more certain and sustainable future for all water.

The reform will improve:

  • accounting and management of flood water take
  • flows for downstream users on the floodplains
  • clarity on the rules for all water users and the regulator (Natural Resources Access Regulator or NRAR)
  • river health and connectivity between important ecosystems
  • outcomes for native fish, birds, plants and other wildlife.

Frequently asked questions

Visit our FAQ page to find answers to commonly asked questions and gain a better understanding about harvesting floodplains.

See FAQs