Thursday, July 25, 2024

NSW groundwater strategy surfaces

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has today launched a groundwater strategy for the state.

The Department’s Executive Director of Regional Water Strategies, Kaia Hodge said the strategy was a major milestone in groundwater management.

“The strategy went on public exhibition earlier this year, and we heard from residents, local governments, researchers, academics, and industry, agriculture and environmental groups,” Ms Hodge said.

“There was strong support for the strategy and its key priorities across a diverse range of stakeholders, and we’re confident the final strategy reflects community sentiment and local knowledge and is informed by the best possible scientific evidence.

“It means the solutions we’re implementing now, and in the years to come, will ensure NSW has the groundwater resources it needs, despite future challenges.”

In NSW, groundwater makes up 10% of the drinking supply. It also underpins the economy, injecting nearly $1 billion each year by supporting industry and agriculture.

“It’s never been more important to protect groundwater, so it’s managed smartly and sustainably into the future, which is why we’re acting now,” Ms Hodge said.

The strategy includes actions to:

  • Support towns and cities that use groundwater improve their urban water planning;
  • Support Aboriginal people’s rights, values and uses of groundwater;
  • Support resilient groundwater-dependent industries in NSW*Better share and integrate groundwater information;
  • Improve our understanding of groundwater resources;
  • Expand and target our groundwater data collection;
  • Refresh, consolidate and expand our groundwater policy framework;
  • Improve protection of groundwater-dependent ecosystems and baseflows to streams;
  • Review and update approaches to sustainable groundwater extraction;
  • Protect groundwater quality within natural limits;
  • Better integrate groundwater management with other land and water management processes;
  • Develop the groundwater components of a water knowledge plan.

The first implementation plan will chart how actions are delivered over the next two years. It will be published early in 2023.

To read the strategy, visit Groundwater Strategy.

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