The New South Wales Government has today launched the much-anticipated North Coast Regional Water Strategy that sets out a clear vision for the future of sustainable water in this iconic area.
Executive Director Water Strategy and Policy Kaia Hodge said the key priorities of the Strategy involve improving water security for agriculture, safeguarding town water supplies, improving river flows and delivering better First Nations outcomes.
“This Regional Water Strategy has been developed hand-in-hand with the people of the North Coast, recognising its unique ecosystems and communities,” Ms Hodge said.
“Each of the 21 actions in the Strategy is underpinned by ground-breaking climate data and puts the needs of residents, industry and the environment front and centre.”
“There is no silver bullet when it comes to boosting water security. We intend to take a holistic approach to land and water management to ensure water resource development and use is sustainable and equitable, while better supporting farmers.”
Key actions in the strategy include:
- Collaborating with Indigenous groups to improve Aboriginal businesses opportunities and cultural outcomes
- Supporting local councils to provide secure and affordable water supply systems to towns
- Delivering a river rehabilitation program to improve the health and water quality of the region’s rivers
- Investigating the increased use of tertiary treated and on-farm recycled water for intensive horticulture
Ms Hodge said the Strategy will also assess the region’s vulnerabilities to challenges like saltwater intrusion and climate change on groundwater storage.
“The way we manage water has never been more important. We’ve been through the worst drought in living memory and now flooding is posing its own risk to drinking supplies because of the risk of contamination,” Ms Hodge said.
“We know extreme weather events aren’t going away so it’s essential we have a solid stakeholder framework that gets the balance right.”
The NSW Government is mapping out the state’s water future through 12 regional and two metropolitan water strategies.
“Water is our most precious resource, and the North Coast Strategy is one piece of a larger puzzle that will help us take a holistic approach to water management in the face of an increasingly variable climate,” Ms Hodge said.