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The New South Wales Government has approved new water-sharing plans for regions across the state.  

The goal is to ensure that water continues to be distributed equally and sustainably across all areas and sectors of the state for the next ten years. 

Unregulated water source schemes across the Northwest, Murray, Lower Murray, New South Wales Border and Castlereagh regions have had their plans replaced to benefit communities. 

“Water sharing plans are vital tools for managing our state’s water resources, and these six replacement plans will ensure we can continue to do so fairly and sustainably,” New South Wales Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (DCCEEW) Executive Director of Water Planning, Giselle Howard, said.  

“That includes continuing to protect basic landholder rights, cultural needs and water for the environment, and setting limits on how much water can be taken to help ensure our rivers, aquifers and waterways remain healthy and resilient.” 

As part of the robust development process, the plans went on public exhibition at varying times between July and December 2023, and residents, councils, water users, industry groups, environmental stakeholders and Indigenous people were able to have their say. 

“The Natural Resources Commission will audit these plans again in 2029 to make sure they’re working the way they should for the environment, all water users, our businesses and communities,” Ms Howard said. 

Water sharing plans are legal instruments that set the rules for how water is shared between water users and the environment, and how it is equitably allocated among licence categories. 

The replacement plans are valid for the next decade. DCCEEW will audit them after the first five years to ensure they are working effectively and appropriately. 

Image: Alexander/stock.adobe.com

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