Following the Natural Resource Commission’s (NRC) 10 yearly review of NSW water sharing plans, the NRC has recommended that the Water Sharing Plan for the Hunter Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2009 (NSW) be replaced. The replacement plan is due by 1 July 2022 and will introduce substantial changes to the management of water access and sharing in the Hunter Valley. Among other things, the NRC, in its draft plan, have proposed that:

  1. new management zones be introduced; and
  2. low-flow-to-high-flow (LFHF) conversion licenses be allowed in Upper Hunter River Water Source.

New Management Zones

The NRC have proposed that new management zones be introduced in the Isis River, Williams River and Upper Wollombi Brook water sources. This will take into account the differences between upper and lower catchments and will additionally allow different access rules to be applied to different zones.

LFHF Conversion Licenses

The NRC, in its draft water sharing plan, have additionally recommended that LFHF licenses be allowed in Upper Hunter River Water Source. However, these LFHF licenses will not be allowed in the Pages River, Isis River, Lower Wollombi Brook, Rouchel Brook or Paterson/Allyn rivers water sources.

As the replacement plan is not due until 1 July 2022, additional changes may be recommended by the NRC.

The Draft Plan: Water Sharing Plan for the Hunter Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2022 is on public exhibition until 27 February 2022. Submissions are welcome. Further information can be found on the website – https:industry.nsw.gov.au/water/plans-programs/water-sharing-plans/recently-on-public-exhibition/hunter-unreg-alluvial

More on this to come.

This article is not legal advice.  It is intended to provide commentary and general information only.  Access to this article does not entitle you to rely on it as legal advice.  You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your own situation.  Please contact us if you require advice on matters covered by this article.

Paul Jayne

Paul Jayne -

Consultant

Environmental planning and property law specialist