The harvestable rights limit for coastal-draining catchments was returned to 10% of rainfall runoff in September 2023 (from 30%, which applied from May 2022). Updates were also made to harvestable rights orders for the coastal-draining and central-inland draining catchments to ensure they are easier to apply and enforce.
Landholders should read the information provided on this page and refer to our frequently asked questions to make sure they understand how the rules have changed and the reasons for the change.
When the harvestable rights limit changed to 10%, only a handful of landholders had informed the department of their intent to build or use a larger harvestable rights dam up to the previous 30% harvestable rights limit. The department contacted these landholders to notify them of the change back to the 10% limit.
If you did not submit a notification form in accordance with the previous harvestable rights order (the Harvestable Rights (coastal-draining catchments) Order 2022), any dams constructed or converted will not be harvestable rights dams and regulatory action may be taken unless the appropriate approvals or exemptions are in place. A water supply work approval will be needed for the dam/s and water take will need to be licensed (unless an appropriate exemption applies).
With the decision to return the harvestable rights limit to 10% of rainfall runoff in September 2023, the department will begin a comprehensive process to determine sustainable levels of extraction in coastal catchments, which will consider all forms of water extraction.
The work that had already started on the coastal harvestable rights catchment-based assessments will now be used to inform the broader sustainable water extraction work for coastal NSW.