Water Sharing Plans
Water Sharing Plans provide the framework by which all users; irrigators, stock and domestic, town water supply, industrial or the environment, can access their water rights by outlining the conditions and rules associated with their licences. These conditions are designed to share water between users and maintain access for each separate water source within their long-term limits, facilitate trade and maintain socio-economic and environmental outcomes for the region.
These plans also provide water users with perpetual access licences, equitable conditions, and increased opportunities to trade water through separation of land and water. They were developed for rivers and groundwater systems across New South Wales following the introduction of the Water Management Act 2000.
All water within the Gwydir Valley is managed through the implementation of Water Sharing Plans, beginning in 2004. With all water managed within Water Sharing Plans, the total volume of water available for diversion by water users, annually and over the long-term, has been established for the Valley.
Water Resources in the Gwydir Valley are outlined in the following water sharing plans:
- Gwydir River Regulated Water Source (2016) (replacement of the Gwydir Regulated Water Source (2004));
- Lower Gwydir Groundwater Source (2003);
- Gwydir Unregulated and Alluvial Water Source 2012 and including Rocky Creek, Cobbadah, Upper Horton and Lower Horton Water Sources (replacement of the Rocky Creek, Cobbadah, Upper Horton and Lower Horton Water Sources (2004));
- NSW Great Artesian Basin Groundwater Sources (2008);
- NSW Great Artesian Basin Shallow Groundwater Sources (2011);
- NSW Murray Darling Basin Fractured Rock Groundwater Sources (2011); and
- NSW Murray Darling Basin Porous Rock Groundwater Sources (2011).
A summary of licences within each of the major plan areas and their reliability under long-term conditions is provided below. Key aspects of each plan are also outlined within the comments section.
The key water sources utilised for regular irrigation production are the Regulated River, Unregulated and Lower Gwydir Groundwater. Smaller scaled irrigation occurs within some of the other plan areas, but the majority of water from these water sources are for town water supply, recreation or stock and domestic purposes.
For more information Gwydir Valley water reliability and current and historical water, visit our page Water Sharing and Availability.
For more information on Water Sharing Plans, see the NSW DPI Water website.
These Plans will be reviewed and re-written into Water Resource Plans, of which the Gwydir Regulated, Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sharing Plans are currently being undertaken. For more information see the NSW DPI Website regarding Water Resource Plans or the Murrary Darling Basin Authority. To access our submissions relating to Gwydir water sharing plans, see our Archived Submissions page.
Implementing Healthy Floodplains Project
The GVIA is committed to implementing the Healthy Floodplains Project to incorporate legitimate floodplain access into the licensing framework as well as better manage the approval of floodplain works. The benefits of implementing this project for industry, the community and the environment are substantial considering the future sustainability of the local irrigation industry relies on the continuation of this unique form of take.
As part of our advice to the NSW Government on their Water Reform Action Plan, we recognised a range of limitations in having full confidence moving forward, we support the implementation of a policy that provides the most secure legislative option for individuals and would support, valley-by-valley implementation for account management and a conditional stage monitoring approach.
We ask that floodplain or overland flow licences be incorporated into the new Water Sharing Plans in the Gwydir Valley prior to implementation of Water Resource Plans in 2019.