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Government response to Independent Panel's first flush recommendations

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the independent assessment was done to provide key findings to help inform methods of future assessment as well as the future management of flows.

“In February, heavy rain fell over the northern basin and, for the first time in NSW’s history, DPIE – water placed an embargo on floodplain harvesting being ‘actively’ diverted to protect a first flush of water through to the Lower Darling,” Mrs Pavey said.

“The assessment was undertaken to provide clarity as to what we can do better in the same scenario. Many of the proposed actions identified by the panel are closely aligned with, or are already being implemented through, existing projects.

“Several will require further exploration with the community and timeframes will need to be extended accordingly.”

The Panel found the event was managed effectively resulting in good outcomes, but better transparency, including communication would have reduced community concerns.

“The Panel’s recommendations primarily relate to improving transparency and communication – these principles are consistent with several key initiatives already underway,” Mrs Pavey said.

“These include the State Water Strategy, regional water strategies, Aboriginal Water Strategy, review of north-west flow targets, remake of the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan, and the Western Weirs project.”

The full NSW Government response is available on the department's website: Northern Basin First Flush Assessment.