Long Term Water Plans

Long Term Water Plans guide the management of water for the environment over the longer term.

What is a Long Term Water Plan?

A Long Term Water Plan draws together local, traditional and scientific knowledge to guide the management of water for the environment over the longer term.

The planning process is an opportunity to take stock and think beyond the traditional management cycle of three to five years.

The plan aims to improve the way water is managed to maximise river and wetland health outcomes from all available water within and between catchments.

The plan sets objectives, targets and watering requirements for key plants, waterbirds, fish and system functions.

Nine plans are being developed for catchments across NSW, setting objectives for five, 10 and 20 year timeframes.

The planning process begins with collection of existing information about the rivers, wetlands, fish, plants and waterbirds in the catchment along with their water requirements.

We will use this information to talk with regional environmental water advisory groups and others who express an interest in being involved.

Local, traditional and scientific knowledge is used to identify important assets and ecosystem functions which help to determine objectives for sustaining and improving the health of these areas.

The plan will also identify long term risks and management strategies to help improve the condition of rivers and wetlands over the long term.


Long Term Water Plans are part of the NSW Government's commitment to implementing the Basin Plan.

Long Term Water Plans provide an opportunity to take a more strategic, co-ordinated and catchment-wide approach to water management.

This will ensure outcomes for the length of the rivers along with Basin-scale benefits from all available water over an extended timeframe.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage is leading the development of the Long Term Water Plans.

At the same time, DPI Water is developing Water Resource Plans for the same catchment areas, setting out the rules for access and use of consumptive and planned environmental water.

Long Term Water Plans will guide the use of water for the environment for each catchment over a 20 year period with reviews every five years.

By taking a strategic, longer term approach, the plan seeks to achieve catchment-wide outcomes from all available water.

The consultation process will ensure that the final product reflects community and cultural values.

A healthy river system is the basis of a sustainable future for all water users.

No. Long Term Water Plans aim to maximise the outcomes from all water within the Water Resource Plan areas.

Improved co-ordination of these water sources will provide environmental benefits.

Water recovery to meet sustainable diversion limits set down by the Basin Plan is close to being achieved in the northern NSW catchments. In southern NSW, there is still some way to go with the Commonwealth aiming to recover the necessary water by 2019.

If you would like to contribute to the planning process, you can contact your local water planning officer.