Report to assist community consultation
The Gwydir: Floodplain harvesting in water sharing plans–Report to assist community consultation report (PDF, 899 KB) aims to assist the community in understanding the proposed types of rules for floodplain harvesting access licences in the Gwydir Valley. It also provides a summary of the other four technical reports and explains the interaction between the rules, modelling, and the expected environmental benefits once they are put in place.
The [link to new Licensing floodplain harvesting page] NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy[/link] requires that individual entitlements in regulated river systems are informed by a capability assessment that considers the works used for floodplain harvesting and the opportunity to access floodplain flows based on location and climatic variability. This capability assessment is undertaken through river system models. The following reports were updated in May 2022, addressing some minor corrections and clarifications to reports previously published in February 2022.
- Building the river system model for the Gwydir Valley regulated river system–May 2022 (PDF, 14.6 MB) describes the development of the Gwydir Valley river system model. The model was developed using multiple lines of evidence and best available industry data. The report provides evidence and assessments to demonstrate that the model is fit for purpose.
- Floodplain Harvesting Entitlements for Gwydir Regulated River System–May 2022 (PDF, 974 KB): Model scenarios report describes how the model of the Gwydir Valley was used to estimate the baseline diversion limit, and to subsequently estimate individual floodplain harvesting entitlements.
Previous versions of these modelling reports were published in February 2021 and February 2022. The previous versions are available below:
- Building the river system model for the Gwydir Valley regulated river system–February 2022 (PDF 14.6 MB)
- Building the river system model for the Gwydir Valley regulated river system–February 2021 (PDF, 14.6 MB)
- Floodplain Harvesting Entitlements for Gwydir Regulated River System: Model Scenarios Report–February 2022 (PDF, 909 KB)
- Floodplain Harvesting Entitlements for Gwydir Regulated River System: Model Scenarios Report–February 2021 (PDF, 909 KB)
These reports were independently peer-reviewed in January-February 2021, and subsequent reports have incorporated ongoing improvements and refinements, including feedback from the independent review: - Gwydir reports review–summary, January 2021 (PDF, 168 KB).
Environmental outcomes report
Harvesting of water from floodplains reduces the volume, frequency and duration of floods and can change the timing of flood events, impacting the health of floodplains and downstream waterways. The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy will provide a more sustainable level of water diversions from the floodplain.
Hydrological metrics for native fish, floodplain native vegetation, waterbirds, key ecosystem functions and wetlands were modelled for two scenarios. Implementation of the policy is predicted to improve the number of flow days, frequency, and timing of floods for native fish, waterbirds, and floodplain vegetation.
Environmental outcomes of implementing the Floodplain Harvesting Policy: Gwydir report (PDF, 12 MB) provides a detailed assessment of the likely benefits for the environment of implementing the policy in the Gwydir Valley.
A summary of the environmental outcomes predicted for the Border Rivers, Gwydir and Macquarie valleys is available below.
Downstream effects report
The NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy will restrict the volume of water that can be taken from the floodplain providing gains to the system through foregone diversion.
Any gains in upstream systems such as the Gwydir Valley will translate into the downstream with additional volumes originating in each of the Barwon-Darling tributary valleys contributing to connectivity between the broader northern Basin system and provision of increased flows towards Menindee Lakes and into the Murray River.
Modelled downstream effects of licensing floodplain harvesting in the Gwydir Valley report (PDF, 5.2 MB) quantifies the potential downstream impacts of these increased flows. This report includes work completed for the NSW Border Rivers and the Gwydir valleys.
Rainfall runoff exemption supplementary report
The proposed rainfall runoff exemption can potentially impact floodplain harvesting modelling in the NSW Gwydir Valley. The department has proposed a regulation to exempt rainfall runoff that is collected in a tailwater return drain from requiring a water access licence and a water supply works approval. The successful commencement of this exemption will impact floodplain harvesting modelling in the NSW Gwydir Valley. This report clarifies the scale of this potential impact on licence shares, the environment, and downstream outcomes.
Floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences – rule summary
The process for determining entitlements of floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences and unregulated river access licences is the same. Accordingly, it is proposed to apply the same rules to floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences as currently exist for unregulated river access licences in the relevant water source and/or management zone, where appropriate.
Type of rule
Proposed rule for floodplain harvesting
Take limit: 3 ML per unit share over three consecutive years
Account limit: 3 ML per unit share at any time
Available water determination
Initial available water determination of 1 ML per unit share
Available water determination of 1 ML per unit share every year after that, subject to decreases to respond to growth
Permanent trade of floodplain harvesting (unregulated river) access licences will reflect the existing permanent trade rules that are applied to unregulated river access licences in the Gwydir Unregulated River Water Sources.
No nomination of works located outside the Gwydir Valley floodplain
No nomination of new works located in management zones A or D
Granting or amending water supply works approvals
No modification of works located in management zones A or D established under the Floodplain Management Plan for the Gwydir Valley Floodplain 2016.
No new works constructed in management zones A or D
No new or modified works outside management zones A or D if the construction or modification would result in an increased rate of take for works located in management zone A or D
Water must not be taken from works that are located in the following management zones and are nominated by a floodplain harvesting (regulated river) access licence when active management is being applied:
Note: This proposed rule is based on the creation of overbank flow in the above management zones during periods of active management.
What we heard
The What we heard report (PDF, 606 KB) summarises the feedback the NSW Government received during the public consultation sessions and from written submissions for the Gwydir Valley.
In addition to the final rules detailed in the What we heard report (PDF, 606 KB), an additional rule has been proposed that acknowledges the connectivity between the Barwon-Darling Valley and the northern inland tributary valleys, and ensure flows are temporarily protected from floodplain harvesting following a dry period.
[link to new page that has been combined with nsw-legislative-council-inquiry-into-floodplain-harvesting] More information on this rule[/link].
The Gwydir Submissions Report (PDF, 1851.97 KB) details the submissions received via the online platform. Please note only submissions where approval was given to publish have been included. Written submissions or attachments with additional information can be found below.