A NSW Government website

Extraction limits

Sustainable diversion limit outcomes

Summary of surface water Sustainable Diversion Limits compliance outcomes.


  • Outcomes will be published on the MDBA website.
  • The Inspector-General Water Compliance did not assess compliance as we did not have accredited WRPs.
  • The Barwon Darling and Gwydir exceeded the SDL compliance trigger (see Table below). All other surface and groundwater SDL units were within the trigger.
  • We have provided explanations and an update on our actions in the 21/22 narrative report.
  • The exceedance in the Gwydir is predominantly from growth in floodplain harvesting. This growth has now been managed through floodplain harvesting licences, which came into effect on the 15 August 2022.
  • Prior to 15 August, we implemented compliance action in both the Gwydir and NSW Border Rivers by reducing supplementary access available water determinations. This was the action required by the water sharing plan prior to the commencement of floodplain harvesting licences. Note that this action is designed to ensure compliance over the long term. This means that not all growth is removed in every year which may lead to an SDL debit over the short term.
  • We continue to progress the make good actions in the Barwon-Darling and a status update is provided in the narrative report.
  • We have not submitted formal reasonable excuse claims as we were not being formally assessed. A reasonable excuse framework was also no longer in place.
  • Once WRPs are accredited the SDL compliance framework will apply to NSW.
Table 1. Summary of surface water SDL compliance outcomes for 2021/22
SDL Resource unit Cumulative balance* as a % of SDL Has the 20% compliance trigger been breached?**
Intersecting Streams 0% No

Barwon Darling Watercourse



NSW Border Rivers 5% No




Namoi 7% No
Macquarie-Castlereagh 6% No
Lachlan 7% No
Murrumbidgee -18% No
NSW Murray 38% No
Lower Darling 38% No

* Balance has been adjusted for disposal and/or acquisition of HEW allocation in these SDL resource units during 2021/22, incomplete recovery in 2020/21 and model refresh adjustments.
** The Basin Plan 2012 sets out the conditions for surface water non-compliance (section 6.12)


  • Outcomes are published on the MDBA website.
  • Compliance assessment responsibility was transferred to the Inspector-General Water Compliance (IGWC) which was formally established on 5 August 2021.
  • NSW results are referred to as interim outcomes, as the IGWC have stated that they are unable to assess the compliance status when an accredited WRP is not in place.
  • The Barwon Darling exceeded the SDL compliance trigger. All other surface and groundwater SDL units were within the trigger.
  • We submitted a reasonable excuse claim for the Barwon Darling (PDF, 307.38 KB). A series of make-good actions were agreed to with MDBA in 2021 and we continue to progress these. This includes a project to update the permitted take method as it was developed based on older less accurate metering. We estimate that this is the main reason for exceeding the compliance triggers in 2020/21. Read our FAQs to find out more.


  • Outcomes are published on the MDBA website
  • 2019-20 is the first water year NSW has had to report on SDL compliance under the Basin Plan.
  • NSW exceeded the sustainable diversion limit (SDL) compliance trigger in the Barwon-Darling (surface water), the Upper Macquarie Alluvium (groundwater) and the Lower Murrumbidgee Deep (groundwater) SDL resource units.
  • The MDBA accepted the reasonable excuse claims submitted by NSW for the two groundwater sources but rejected them for the Barwon-Darling. The details of these claims are on the MDBA website
  • The reasonable excuse claim for the Barwon Darling was rejected by the MDBA as the department hadn’t implemented all of the procedures in the proposed water resource plan, including the assessment of compliance with the LTAAEL. [Note – this work has now been completed and can be found on our website].