The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has today launched the South Coast Regional Water Strategy that will pave the way for a sustainable water future for everywhere from Jervis Bay to Bega and surrounds.
Executive Director Water Strategy and Policy Kaia Hodge said improving water security for agriculture, safeguarding town water supplies, improving river flows and delivering better cultural outcomes are all key priorities of the strategy.
“We developed the South Coast Regional Water Strategy hand-in-hand with the people of the South Coast. Each of the 22 actions are underpinned by new climate data and have put the needs of residents, industry, Aboriginal communities and the environment front and centre,” Ms Hodge said.
“Many actions look to improve the region’s water security, including ways we can cut red tape for new on-farm storages to fast-track approvals and better support farmers.
“We’re also committed to working with landholders to safeguard water supply in the Lower Tuross, which is vulnerable to saltwater intrusion.
“Solutions being explored include increasing on-farm storage, installing bores to access groundwater or installing a sand barrage with a fish passage.”
Other actions in the strategy include:
- Working with Bega Valley Shire Council to secure town water supply
- Improving river flows by assessing the catchment-based impacts of harvestable rights limits
- Developing ongoing collaboration with local Aboriginal people in water management which will be guided by the state-wide Aboriginal Water Strategy
- Improving knowledge around how vulnerable surface water and groundwater sources are to rising sea levels
- Improving fish passage by replacing or remediating six high priority fish barriers in the South Coast region
- Establishing sustainable extraction limits for surface water and groundwater
- Reducing water take during low flows.
Ms Hodge said water is a precious and limited resource which is why the government is mapping out NSW’s water future through its regional and metropolitan water strategies.
“The South Coast Strategy is one piece of a larger puzzle that will help us to take a holistic approach to water management in the face of an increasingly variable climate,” Ms Hodge said.
Read the full South Coast Regional Water Strategy.