Government initiatives

Water for the environment is managed consistent with a range of NSW and Commonwealth legislative and policy initiatives, including:

Within this legislative and policy framework government has successfully completed a range of programs to protect the environmental values of wetlands and rivers, including:

These programs have included actions such as:

  • water purchasing
  • infrastructure investment to deliver environmental water
  • landholder partnerships
  • research
  • monitoring.

Regulation of water for the environment

Water for the environment can be categorised as:

1. 'Planned' environmental water allocated within statutory water sharing plans; and

2. 'Adaptive' environmental water allocated to water licenses held for environmental use.

Within this regulatory framework the use of water for the environment is planned according to annual and long term water plans within each catchment and a number of other government plans and policies.

Planned water for the environment

'Planned' water for the environment is allocated through water sharing plans under the NSW Water Management Act 2000. Water sharing plans establish rules for sharing water between the environment and different types of water users. Within water sharing plans there are a number of rules and triggers for the use of 'planned' water for the environment. Water is allocated periodically according to inflows and dam levels.

Adaptive or licensed water for the environment

'Adaptive' water for the environment has been recovered through infrastructure works and the purchase of water licenses. Both the NSW and Commonwealth governments (through the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder) have purchased water licenses for environmental purposes. Water is allocated periodically according to inflows and dam levels. The regulations for the use of licensed water are contained in water sharing plans and license conditions and associated 'adaptive' environmental water-use plans. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has prepared the following 'adaptive' environmental water-use plans:

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Page last updated: 12 August 2016