New rules for FPH start in 4-weeks

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New rules for FPH to start in 4-weeks

In a milestone for water management in the region, the NSW Water and Environment Minister’s jointly amended the Gwydir’s water sharing plans[1] to include floodplain harvesting, the take of water during floods.

This is the final form of water in the region to be licensed and has taken 20 years of delays and deliberations with licences to begin by 1 September 2022.

Zara Lowien, the Executive Officer of the Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association whose members will be the first in NSW to be licenced for this form of take said this is not a win for northern irrigators, as it's often portrayed.

"On average water users in the Gwydir are losing 30% of their long-term access to flood water[2] which will have more than a $90 million impact to our economy through less production[3]" she said.

"Make no mistake, this is an environmental reform like no other.”

“The reduction in water in our region is almost as much that was recovered for the Murray Darling Basin Plan but without compensation”.

“More water will flow to the environment during floods[4] with the benefits for the environment, will far outweighing the certainty that licencing may bring our industry”.

“But the reform is a key step to ensuring the future sustainability of our region and will enable the industry to meet legal and community obligations - to have all water take limited, measured and reported”.

“Being able to demonstrate responsible water use was always a key reason we supported the reform” she said.

“With the water sharing plans amended and licences enabled, our members will prove this commitment through implementing new measurement requirements” she said.

“This water take data will highlight that floodplain harvesting represents a small proportion of total flood flows and that we don't access flood water during a drought".

“New environmental rules will also provide clarity that during droughts, rivers must flow before floodplain harvesting can begin”.

“Each of these new rules are what many in the community expect” she said.

“All we hope it that now it is licensed, communities can move forward and work to address many of the remaining water management issues like how Menindee Lakes are managed, which have been over-shadowed and sidelined by this reform” she said.


For more information visit our webpage Floodplain Flows and Licencing including a detailed section on addressing mistruths about the impact on Menindee Lakes and legal limits.   Alternatively, visit the Department of Planning and Environment webpage.

[1] Gwydir Regulated River Water Source sl-2022-429 ( and Gwydir Unregulated River Water Sources sl-2022-430 (

[2] Floodplain harvesting entitlements for the Gwydir Valley regulated river system (

[3] NSW Floodplain harvesting economic analysis

[4] Floodplain harvesting licence rules in the water sharing plans for Gwydir valley - Water in New South Wales (

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