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Progress needed on Floodplain Harvesting

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A PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE has detailed a number of ways to reform floodplain harvesting in NSW.

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said even small steps towards evidence-based regulation of floodplain harvesting were better than the uncertainty surrounding the issue at present.

“We advocate for the fair and equitable sharing of our valuable water resources for all primary producers and regional communities, and NSW Farmers supports the licencing of floodplain harvesting in NSW as one step in achieving the improved use of water across the state within the Water Sharing Plans,” Mr Jackson said.

“A number of members have expressed concerns about the equity of the process to date, and feel they haven’t had their say on decisions that have impacted them.

“But without taking steps forward in measuring and monitoring water use, it is impossible to better adapt to changes in seasonal conditions and climate.”

Mr Jackson said farmers were becoming increasingly efficient and productive with their water use, and now it was up to the government to play its part in delivering an ability to plan to the available supply, that can be adjusted through Water Sharing Plans. Floodplain Harvesting was an important tool in planning water use, he said, and licencing will move this facet of water management into proper regulation.

“Uncertainty in natural resource regulation does not serve the environment or the economic or social wellbeing of the regions,” Mr Jackson said.

“I think NSW is leading the country in ways to better measure water usage, and floodplain harvesting  licencing will add to the resources to achieve this.

“It is an important step to ensure that all land owners have an equal opportunity to ensure their existing rights are protected and future rights to use their land free from altered water flows and reductions in available water are not compromised.”

IMAGE: Floodplain water harvesting in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Source: Media release, NSW Dept of Planning, Industry and Environment.

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