The Nature Conservation Council is urging members of parliament to disallow new regulations legalising the practice of floodplain harvesting that were released today, saying that allowing irrigators to divert floodwaters under the regulations will starve rivers, wetlands, and downstream communities and ecologies of huge volumes of water.
“Many of our rivers and wetlands are already in a perilous state and this new regulation that will deprive them on a huge volume of precious water will have drastic consequences,” said Chris Gambian, Chief Executive of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
“The environment movement urges all parliamentarians to vote to disallow this dreadful regulation and protect our rivers, wetlands and downstream communities.
“Floodplain harvesting diverts a huge volume of water away from our rivers into private dams, and handing out new licences without proper safeguards, sustainable limits and guaranteed downstream targets will be repeating the mistake of overallocation of water that has already damaged the Murray-Darling Basin.
“Many of our wetlands, floodplain environments, and lakes, and all the animals and plants they support, rely on regular flood events. To allow irrigators to take up to 500% of a licence allocation in a single year is a recipe for disaster and will see important floodwaters stolen from the environment and downstream communities.
“We’ve seen how hard and expensive it is to undo the mistakes of over allocating water resources in the past.
"The regulations introduced by the government do not have the safeguards, limits and downstream targets to ensure that any diversion of floodwaters is sustainable. It is a death sentence for our rivers and wetlands.”