MINISTER for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has made public the latest in a series of draft water sharing plans being prepared across NSW for hard rock and coastal sand aquifers.
The rock component includes the townships of both Bombala and Delegate, with local residents being urged to familiarise themselves with the draft plans.
Ms Hodgkinson made the announcement last week in Queanbeyan with Member for Monaro, John Barilaro, where they called on local farmers, industry groups and the wider community to comment on the draft South Coast water sharing plan for the area’s groundwater.
“Groundwater plays an important role in providing water for the long-term security for local farming, industries, towns and the environment,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Seventy water sharing plans have already started in NSW, bringing more than 95 per cent of water extracted in the state under the provisions of the Water Management Act 2000.
“Once finalised, this new water sharing plan will be legally binding for 10 years and will provide improved outcomes for agriculture, industry, town water supply and the environment.
“The new draft plan will protect the health of groundwater sources on the South Coast and bring water access licences, currently operating under the Water Act 1912, into the modern era.”
Ms Hodgkinson said prior to the development of the water sharing plans, access licenses had to be renewed every five years, and land and water was tied together.
“Under the water sharing plans, access rights are more secure, certain and, since land and water are separated, are more easily tradeable,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Under the plan, there is no reduction in the licensed level of entitlements. Since the current level of extraction is less than the environmentally sustainable level of extraction, the health of the groundwater ecosystem is assured.”
Mr Barilaro said the draft South Coast plan covers three groundwater sources, including fractured rock, porous rock and coastal sand aquifers.
It covers the southern part of the Monaro and includes the towns of Berridale, Jindabyne, Nimmitabel, Bombala and Delegate.
“The NSW Government, rural landholders and the community all recognise that we need to ensure groundwater management is sustainable,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This new draft water sharing plan is an important step in that direction.”
The draft South Coast water sharing plan is on public exhibition until November 8, 2013.
Locals can obtain a copy of the draft plan, groundwater source report cards and a submission form from the Bombala Council, or online at www.water.nsw.gov.au
Public information sessions also will be held -
• October 16, 2013, 10.30am to 12.30am, NSW Office of Water, Rooftop Level, Sapphire Marketplace, Auckland Street, Bega.
• October 16, 2013, 4pm to 6pm, Jindabyne Sport and Recreation Conference Centre, 207 Barry Way, Jindabyne.
How to make a submission:
• Submitted online at: www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au
• Email: email@example.com
• Post: Draft Water Sharing Plan, NSW Office of Water, PO Box 189,
Queanbeyan, NSW 2620
• Fax: (02) 6229 7301, marked Attn Draft Water Sharing Plan.