Floodplain Harvesting results released
By releasing draft floodplain harvesting rules and updated modeling results for the Gwydir Valley the NSW Government took another small but
important step forward in transitioning this historical form of take into the current regulatory framework, 20-years in the making.
The process, won't be without impact but will have broad benefits as well. Volumetric licensing together with modern measurement and compliance, is the only way to have greater transparency and accountability for everyone who shares in floods. Its why we have particpated in it and its time to move forward from estimating such interceptions and start defining and managing them better.
The documenation is extensive and includes the modeling process applied to update models with the best information and better represent floodplain harvesting, as well as, proposes new rules for Regulated and Unregulated Water Sharing Plans in the region. There are a range of companion reports on environmental benefits and downstream outcomes and all of the reports are available from the Department's website.
More information on floodplain havresting in the Gwydir Valley is available on our Floodplain Flow and Licensing page.
WaterNSW have announced supplementary access in the Gwydir Valley which shares unregulated flows 50:50 between the environment and water
users. This is following recent localised rainfall below Copeton Dam between 100-200mm with more inflows expected as ungauged inflows are measured. Current announcement between 5-20% depending on on your location equalling approximately 14,000 megaltires. You must
place an eligible water order.
An operations update on current river flows is available from WaterNSW.
Water sharing plan rules provide for win-win
Recent localised rainfall in the Gwydir Valley means the region is fortunate enough to have generated local unregulated inflows below
Copeton Dam. The flow rate and volume means localised flooding will occur and moderate and minor flood warnings have been issues for some
sections of the river.
These natural inflows come at a time when general security users are on just 5% allocation and Copeton Dam is at 13%. Current interested general security users were receiving their allocation in bulk to reduce losses, this has provided connectivity in most sections of the river.
Our water sharing plan rules set a clear and transparent process to ensure flows for connectivity and our internationally recognised wetlands, whilst sharing any surplus water to benefit our community, it’s people and it’s economy.
The BOM also provided flood warnings in the Gwydir Valley, on the Gwydir River at Gravesend a minor warning with moderate downstream of
Pallamallawa and minor warning for the Mehi River. Flows are estimated to be above the safe operating level of river infrastructure
and will be largely unmanageable. They will naturally flow towards the watercourse area to peak at this stage Friday evening.
Keep updated via the BOM flood watch and be safe.
What happens if my meter is not working
If you become aware that your meter is not working or is faulty, it is your responsibility to register using a s.91i self reporting
process within 24 hours . You have 21 days then to have a Duly Qualified Person inspect your meter. This process is also to be used if you have recently
installed an approved local intelligence device (telemetry unit) as per the NSW non-urban Metering Rules and for some reason it is not
connecting to the Data Acquisition Service or functioning correctly.
Provided you have a fully functioning water meter with data logging capability or are keeping appropriate records according to your licence conditions of water take, time, volume and purpose, you are not required to lodge a s.91i self report to access water ordered during this upcoming bulk delivery, even if you are awaiting final validation of your meter or install of your telemetry according to the new NSW non-urban Metering rules.
This delivery presents an opportunity for water users with approved water orders, to undertake flow testing and operational checks required to finalise your validation process, please let your DQP know your delivery schedule.
You must keep records of your effort to be compliant by your required deadline according to NRAR's Compliance Approach and the proposed industry implementation schedule.
Block release update
WaterNSW today advised that with low volumes of water available and continued hot, dry conditions, the single block release for 2020/21
general security deliveries in the Gwydir Valley will be brought forward.
The revised dates for the block release from Copeton Dam are:
Releases will commence on Friday 26 November 2020, and
Releases will cease around 24 December 2020.
Orders must be placed prior to 18 December 2020 via iWAS or calling the helpdesk via 1300 662 077. For users West of Moree place your orders ASAP to help ensure effecient delivery.
Consultation open on future management FPH
As part of the NSW Government's commitment to regulating and measuring floodplain harvesting, changes to the Water Management (General)
Regulation 2018 to include floodplain harvesting requirements are being proposed.
The proposed changes aim to improve the management of floodplain harvesting across NSW and will:
- allow for floodplain harvesting licences to be issued,
- apply measurement requirements to floodplain harvesting, in line with NSW Government’s Floodplain Harvesting Measurement Policy
- establish a state-wide exemption for tailwater return drains
- ensure water users are confident in what can and cannot be taken from a floodplain prior to licenses being issued.
Irrigation efficiency research back on track
After not being able to plant our irrigation efficiency trial last season due to no water, it is great to now have crops in the ground for this season. The trial will include a look at the new surface drip system from Netafim, a new EnviroNode Farm Automation Controller on the Smart Siphons, the lateral system, the original bankless system and the new fully automated bankless system with Padman Stops auto winches.Read More
Connectivity between North and South MDB
The Darling River in the northern basin contributes on average about 14 per cent of the total flow in the River Murray (the southern basin)
at the point where the Darling enters the Murray.
In reality, most years do not deliver an average contribution from the Darling River. Averages mask extreme fluctuations in Darling flows, which are driven by the ephemeral and dynamic, boom and bust nature of rainfall in the northern Basin.
This means that major changes to inflows from the northern basin have only minor impacts on total Murray inflows. For example, DPIEW recently stated in an update to stakeholders that a 10% reduction in inflows from the Lower Darling would result in only a 1.4% reduction in total inflows to the River Murray.
The greatest influence on NSW allocations is the flow from the upper Murray catchments.
NSW government releases draft rules for floodplain harvesting licences
GVIA vice chair Jim Cush, who also farms in the NSW Border Rivers and the Namoi, is relieved the Healthy Floodplains project - established
to oversee the licencing - is nearing its end.
"It's been a long time coming, especially considering it started with the River Management Committee discussions that committed to licencing during the development of our first water sharing plan in the early 2000s," he said.
"The Department is finally getting its act together."
Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association (GVIA) has welcomed the state government's commitment to moving forward with its management of overland flow with the release of draft accounting rules and floodplain licensing outcomes for the Border Rivers, the first of the five valley's.