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Licensing floodplain harvesting by Christmas would be reckless

Water Minister Melinda Pavey’s announcement she intends to issue floodplain licences before Christmas [1] recklessly disregards most of the 25 recommendations and 14 findings of yesterday’s parliamentary committee report. [2] 

“Ms Pavey hardly had a moment to consider the Floodplain Harvesting committee’s report before declaring in the media that she would issue water harvesting licences,” Nature Conservation Council Acting Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford said. 

“That report made 25 recommendations to protect the environment and downstream communities who are being robbed of water by unapproved and unauthorised dams and levees. 

“The government doesn’t even know how much water is being taken and what effect that level of unauthorised take is having on downstream users and the environment. 

“The government should not recklessly rush to issue billions of litres of new water licences. Doing so risks repeating the mistakes made in the past.  

“The inquiry has made a number of very sensible recommendations that should be adopted to ensure any regulation is sustainable and not a burden on the public purse.

“We urge the minister to take the time to consider and implement the parliamentary committee’s recommendations to prevent another colossal mistake being made in water management.” 


[1] Floodplain Harvesting, Select Committee On Floodplain Harvesting, 15 December 2021 

[2] NSW to push ahead with flood plain harvesting despite calls for more research on impacts, The Guardian, 15-12-21 

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