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Water plan ‘vital’

Thursday, 13th October, 2011

A new water sharing plan for the Barwon-Darling river system will give “security and certainty” for water users and the environment, according to NSW Water Commissioner David Harriss.

The Draft Barwon-Darling Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources water sharing plan has been placed on public exhibition.

The water sharing plan - the latest in a series being prepared across NSW - covers the unregulated Barwon and Darling Rivers from Mungindi to upstream of Lake Wetherall.

It takes in the townships of Mungindi, Collarenebri, Walgett, Brewarrina, Bourke, Louth and Wilcannia, as well as the Upper Darling alluvium downstream of Bourke.

Mr Harriss said the draft plan includes rules for protecting the environment, managing water extraction, and facilitating water trading.

“The plan, once gazetted, will give security and certainty for water users and the environment for 10 years,” he said.

“The plan will also establish a benchmark against which any changes under the Commonwealth Basin Plan may be assessed.

“The NSW government, rural landholders and the community all recognise that we need to ensure our river and alluvial groundwater management is sustainable. This water sharing plan is an important step in that direction.”

Mr Harriss said unregulated rivers and alluvial groundwater played an important role in providing water for the long-term security for farming, industries, towns and the environment.

“If the water resources are under threat, so are they.

“Unregulated rivers and alluvial groundwater aquifers are extremely valuable to the people of NSW.

“The majority of the inland rivers are unregulated and have some of the state’s most significant ecosystems, and much of our aquatic biodiversity.”

The draft Barwon-Darling water sharing plan is on public exhibition until November 18.

Copies of the draft plan, water source report cards and a submission form are available from City Council.

Wilcannia is one of a number of centres hosting a public information session on Thursday, November 3 (12noon to 2pm) at the

 Community Hall.

Submissions can be sent by email (barwondarlingwsp@water.nsw.gov.au), post (Daniel Connor 

NSW Office of Water

 PO Box U245 

ARMIDALE NSW 2351) or fax: (02) 6773 5288 (Att Daniel Connor). Submissions must be received by November 18.

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