The NSW Government has released new modelling reports on floodplain harvesting in the Northern Basin to support implementation of its historic Floodplain Harvesting Policy.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the Gwydir modelling reports will inform rules for floodplain harvesting access licences to be issued by 1 July 2021 to irrigators on the Gwydir floodplain. 

“The NSW Government has spent six years and over $17 million collecting and analysing data from field inspections, remote sensing, metering and river flow records, and having improved modelling independently reviewed,” Mrs Pavey said.

“We are using the best available expertise and information to create a world-leading licensing regime for floodplain harvesting that should be the envy of every other Basin State.

Mrs Pavey said that while the modelling reports for the Gwydir Valley confirm floodplain infrastructure has grown significantly over the last two decades, particularly between 1994 and 2008, they also dispel many of the misconceptions about the volumes to be licensed and the impacts this growth has had on southern basin water users.

“Licensing will permit on average around 120GL to be taken by floodplain harvesting from the Gwydir valley floodplain, which is the volume required to ensure compliance with legal limits in this valley,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Whilst the growth in floodplain harvesting in the Gwydir Valley has been significant, the Department’s peer reviewed modelling shows that its impact on southern Basin water allocations is almost undetectable.”