WaterNSW has started implementing a number of key recommendation from the Matthews report into water management to create greater transparency around water regulation.
An online site managed by WaterNSW now displays the entire Barwon-Darling river system, which runs approximately 1000km from Mungindi to Menindee, and has been subject to considerable scrutiny in regard to compliance with water management rules.
The new site illustrates flow access for each management zone of the river system based on the NSW Government’s Water Sharing Plan.
This tool gives water users (extractive and environmental) and the public a better understanding of system flows and general access arrangements.
Access to extract water is based on individual licence and/or works approval conditions, so the tool cannot be used for compliance oversight without thorough knowledge of these conditions.
This compliance oversight is the function of the independent Natural Resource Access Regulator.
According to WaterNSW CEO, David Harris, the online capability not only offers customers improved information concerning extracting water in varying circumstances, it also provides the broader community a useful guide to variations in water access.
“One of the key recommendations that emerged from the Matthews report, a review commissioned to look at water management in regional NSW, was that the sector should strive for greater transparency around the sharing, allocation and management of water,” Mr Harris said.
“As a result, transparency is one of four pillars of the NSW Government’s Water Reform Action Plan announced this week, and this latest initiative demonstrates that WaterNSW is working with government to ensure the community can have full confidence in the management of water in NSW.
“The intention of the Matthews’ recommendation was that customers and the broader community can have confidence that water is being used in accordance with applicable water management rules, works approvals and licences, and in this case, with awareness of what water extractions might be possible at a particular river section at a given time.
“While water compliance will be the responsibility of the newly created and independent Natural Resource Access Regulator, this innovation by WaterNSW brings clarity to the way in which water management rules apply in the Barwon-Darling system.”