Farmers and landholders who have coastal-draining properties will have greater water security following the NSW Government’s harvestable rights increase coming into effect today.
Minister for Lands and Water, Kevin Anderson, said some landholders would now be able to capture more of the rainfall runoff from their properties, boosting their operations and helping them better prepare for droughts and bushfires.
“When it comes to managing water my view is healthy rivers, healthy farms and healthy communities, not one or the other. The NSW Government is committed to growing the economy and this is great news for our coastal farms and businesses,” Mr Anderson said.
“As of today landholders, under strict conditions, can store more water for stock watering, domestic use and certain types of agriculture, supporting farming, local jobs and regional economies.
Water captured through increased harvestable rights will be restricted to certain uses. There are limitations on where new dams can be built to balance the needs of the environment and downstream water users.
The increase allows farmers to capture rainfall runoff, subject to specific safeguards including that any increase is used only for domestic and stock use and extensive agricultural activities. It comes after a NSW Government review which included hydrological modelling and extensive community consultation.
“We know drought will come again which is why we’re acting now. This rule change means coastal landholders can capture water in farm dams during wet times, to get them through dry spells when water is scarce,” Mr Anderson said.
“We’re listening to the community and delivering water security where it’s needed most, but we must get the balance right.”